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37,000-Year-Old Baby Mammoth Carcass Arrives in Japan for Study

The frozen carcass of a 37,000-year-old baby mammoth unearthed this summer in Siberia arrived in Japan on Saturday for tests that researchers hope will shed new light on the internal structure of the ancient beasts, an official said.

The 4-foot gray-and-brown carcass arrived at Tokyo International Airport on Saturday afternoon, said Mitsuyoshi Uno, an official with the joint Russo-Japanese mammoth-study project that is overseeing the research.

Discovered in May by a reindeer herder in northern Siberia's remote Yamal-Nenets region, the frozen mammoth's trunk and eyes are virtually intact and it even has some fur, but its tail and ear were apparently bitten off, Russian officials said.

The mammoth, which was initially thought to be about 10,000-years-old, is bound for Tokyo's Jikei Medical University, where it will undergo a computed tomography scan, Uno said. CT scans allow scientists to get 3-D pictures so detailed they allow an almost surgical view into the body.

Researchers hope the scan will provide more information about the animal's organs and internal structure.

The mammoth carcass and scan images are slated to go on public display Jan. 4 at an office building in central Tokyo, Uno said.

Scientists believe mammoths lived from 4.8 million years ago to about 4,000 years ago. Studies suggest climate change or overkill by human hunters as possible causes for their extinction.