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Yukon Horse Remains | by Travis S.
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Yukon Horse Remains

In 1993, young Sam Olynyk was helping out on a placer claim belonging to his father, Lee Olynyk and Ron Toewes at Last Chance Creek, near Dawson City. Sam's sharp eye spotted the remains of a horse emerging out of the frozen silts.

 

This horse turned out to be Equus lambei, the ice age Yukon horse that died about 26,000 years ago, before the cold peak of the last (Wisconsinan) glaciation. The remains are the most complete and best preserved specimen of a mummified, or freeze dried, extinct large mammal ever found in Canada.

 

The carcass includes a large piece of the hide extending from the tail to the ear, an articulated right foreleg, small portion of the lower intestine with a small amount of dung.

 

Teeth marks on the neck and foreleg march well with wolf (Canis lupus) dentition and suggest how this small horse met his end.

 

The remains of the Yukon horse were recovered as a mass of skin and hair with the right foreleg and a small portion of intestine. The hide was largely intact, with the exception of part of the head area.

 

The exceptionally well preserved remains of the Yukon horse provides a direct link to the ancient, extinct ecosystem that dominated Yukon during the Ice Age.

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Taken in August 2010