EXPO 2005 Mammoth Excavation and Exhibition Project

1. Outline

The recent discovery of frozen mammoth remains in Siberia is not unrelated to global warming. The rise in the Earth's temperature is causing the Siberian permafrost to melt, and specimens of mammoths that were once locked into the frozen earth are surfacing as a result. If the frozen earth continues to melt, we will likely lose many of the valuable resources that have been left for tens of thousands of years.

During EXPO 2005, efforts will be made to reexamine the connection between life and the global environment using the results of cutting-edge research. The Mammoth Excavation and Exhibition Project has been undertaken in the realization that the Yukagir Mammoth is a valuable resource, that this may be the last chance to study it, and that by unearthing and researching it, we may be able to unravel the mystery of how the environment and life are linked. It thus serves as a way to give form to the main theme of EXPO 2005, “Nature's Wisdom.”

2. Basic facts about the Yukagir Mammoth

Name: Yukagir Mammoth (named for the location where it was discovered)
Age: About 18,000 years (based on radiocarbon dating)
Age at death: About 40 to 45 years (The size and curvature of the tusks indicate that it was fully grown at the time of death.)
Sex: Male (based on head size and curvature of the tusks.)
Shoulder height: 2.8 meters (based on the total length of all the recovered parts of the left front leg and a method used by researchers of Asian elephants for calculating shoulder height from the circumference of the foreleg.)
Weight: 4-5 tons (Male Asian elephants with the same shoulder height weigh nearly 5 tons. However, the current method for calculating the weight of mammoths from the length of the humerus indicates that it would be 4-5 tons.)

3. Overview of the recovered remains of the Yukagir Mammoth (all from the front half of the animal)

Head (with two tusks), all cervical vertebrae, most of the thoracic vertebrae, left foreleg (with some tissue and bone remaining below the knee and bone above it), part of the right foreleg, some ribs (especially those covering the right side of the chest), some skin (discovered in a mummified state), portions of the intestinal walls (future research will be undertaken to pinpoint what part) and some of its contents, and hair

4. Chronology

July 17, 2003

EXPO 2005 Mammoth Excavation and Exhibition Organizing Committee established

January 16, 2004

Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in the Russian Federation and the Japan Association for the 2005 World Exposition concerning the exhibition of the Yukagir Mammoth, which was discovered in the Ust-Yansky district of Sakha, at EXPO 2005 as part of a joint Japanese-Russian project

February 16-25, 2004

Excavation trials conducted in Hokkaido

May 22, 2004

Yukagir Mammoth Scientific Committee established by order of the President of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic

May 27, 2004

Visit to Japan by President Vyacheslav Anatolievich Shtyrov of the Sakha Republic; Agreement reached concerning exhibition of the Yukagir Mammoth at EXPO 2005 as a joint project by the Russian Federation, the Sakha Republic, and the Japan Association for the 2005 World Exposition in the Association's pavilion; Photographs of the head of Yukagir Mammoth made public at press conference

June 8-15, 2004

Survey of Yukagir Mammoth discovery site (June)

September 4-10, 2004

Survey of Yukagir Mammoth discovery site (September)

November 17-18, 2004

The Yukagir Mammoth Symposium: Outcome of the First Stage of Scientific Research held in Yakutsk City on the grounds of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)

November 19, 2004

The head and other parts of the Yukagir Mammoth arrive in Nagoya on a chartered plane and are transported to the Nagakute Area of EXPO 2005.

5. Exhibition at EXPO 2005 Aichi

The recovered parts of the Yukagir Mammoth, including the head, left foreleg, and other parts of the skeleton and carcass, are scheduled to be displayed in a refrigerated exhibition room next to the Global House. The temperature will be kept at minus 15 degrees Celsius, and visitors will view the room through windows. Other mammoth-related exhibits will be on view in the Global House, including a model of the Yukagir Mammoth, general findings on mammoths and the global environment of their era, an account of the Yukagir Mammoth surveys and excavations, and a visual presentation using computer graphics and other techniques to show the latest research findings. An exhibit of a complete mammoth skeleton and other mammoth-related exhibits will also be on view in the Russian Pavilion in Global Common 4, providing visitors with a multifaceted look at this animal.

6. Yukagir Mammoth Symposium

The Yukagir Mammoth Symposium was held at the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) from November 17-18. A large number of researchers from around the world took part, as well as Deputy Chairman of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) Evgeniya I. Mikhailova, and Secretary-General of the Japan Association for the 2005 World Exposition Toshio Nakamura. Basic data on the Yukagir Mammoth was unveiled during the proceedings. The second Yukagir Mammoth Symposium is scheduled to take place in Japan during EXPO 2005.