If you preface any topic with hair, it will automatically get my attention.
Which is why the recent ABC headlines about a young hairy mammoth nickname Yuka found on the frozen tundras of northern Siberia caught my interest.
Even more interesting than the fact that the young mammoth was covered by a type of hair was the discovery that its carcass was cut open by human hunters more than 10,000 years ago.
The well-preserved remains has pink flesh and lots of red-brown hairy fur still covering the body.
Prof. Daniel Fisher, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Michigan who has examined the remains, says there are clear signs that the mammoth was probably attacked by lions or similar wild animals due to the presence of bite and claw marks on the animal's lower legs and tail.
Although the mammoth appeared to have been attacked by wild animals, the evidence points to it being ultimately killed and then carved up by human hunters who gained control of the prey.
Scientists report that they found that someone carefully and methodically slit the animal wide open, as if with a crude knife. Most of the internal organs were missing and presumed to have been used for immediate food. The mammoth's hairy fur covering was left intact.
While the scientists studying the mammoth are questioning a variety of factors, my biggest question was why the hairlike outer covering was not taken and made into coverings for the hunters or their families. Humans were famous for wearing fur covered caps, skins and even boots to stay warm in cold climates.
Hair and bits of fur was also striped from dead animals and made into some of the earliest wigs.
Did this mammoth die before humans knew to use the hair and fur for their own protection from extreme temperatures? I would guess that hunters in Siberia 10,000 years ago weren't concerned with making wigs, but why not concerned with protecting their heads with fur?
Some of the scientists hypothesize that the hunters buried the remains after striping the obvious food with the intention of returning for the other usable parts of the animal. The bones were also removed and buried next to the carcass. Maybe the hunters did plan to use the fur, but never made it back to harvest it from the body.Regardless, there's no chance now that the hairy mammoth's coat will make it to the fashion racks as a hat or wig.