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Ice Age baby mammoth on display at French museum.
PARIS — After tens of thousands of years under the Siberian frost, a baby woolly mammoth is taking a summer vacation in southeast France.
Baby Khroma, one of the oldest intact mammoths ever found, went on display in a French museum Friday — after it underwent special tests to ensure it was no longer bearing the anthrax believed to have killed it.
Khroma is on display at the Musee Crozatier in Puy-en-Velay in a special cryogenic chamber kept at -18 degrees C (-0.40 Fahrenheit).
The 80-centimeter-high, 1.6-meter-long (1-foot-high, 5-foot-long) prehistoric guest may be the oldest baby mammoth ever discovered. Carbon dating methods failed to determine its age, suggesting it is more than 50,000 years old, said French researchers and Sergei Gorbunov, project coordinator for the Geneva-based International Mammoth Committee. Russian news reports have said it is 32,000 years old.
It will undergo further isotope analysis in France to try to pin down its age — and its gender, up to now unclear.
"It's a unique discovery," Gorbunov told The Associated Press by telephone. "Any discovery of a new mammoth gives us new scientific information about prehistory."
Similar enthusiasm was felt six months ago in the United States when a 42,000-year-old baby woolly mammoth named Lyuba arrived at the Field Museum in Chicago, where it is still on display. The practically intact specimen, discovered in 2007 in Siberia as well, is the best-preserved of her kind, according to researchers.
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