Baby woolly mammoth

A baby woolly mammoth has been discovered in Russia’s frozen tundra.  Not a fossil, not bones, but an intact woolly mammoth!  It will be displayed in Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History.

Wooly mammoth carcass from Siberia reveals information about ice-age creatures – washingtonpost.com.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    I think there’s talk of trying to restore mammoths as a species, using cloning techniques and elephant ova. Personally, I think it would be kind of cool.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    I think there’s talk of trying to restore mammoths as a species, using cloning techniques and elephant ova. Personally, I think it would be kind of cool.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Wouldn’t it be amazing to have these creatures lumbering around again?

    The state of Missouri was, apparently, home to these magnificent creatures as well.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Wouldn’t it be amazing to have these creatures lumbering around again?

    The state of Missouri was, apparently, home to these magnificent creatures as well.

  • Jonathan

    Remarkable preservation for a 40,000 year-old specimen. Looks in much better shape than an Egyptian mummy. I wonder why that is. Was this one radio-carbon dated?

  • Jonathan

    Remarkable preservation for a 40,000 year-old specimen. Looks in much better shape than an Egyptian mummy. I wonder why that is. Was this one radio-carbon dated?

  • WebMonk

    Jonathan, why do you think it should look worse? It has been cleaned up and processed, and the newspaper used the best-looking picture.

    If you want a closer look, check out http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_ERGrznxTIwo/RqDof3dG94I/AAAAAAAAFWo/N4qB_6DL3Gw/s1600/Siberia%2Bbaby%2Bmammoth%2B2.jpg

  • WebMonk

    Jonathan, why do you think it should look worse? It has been cleaned up and processed, and the newspaper used the best-looking picture.

    If you want a closer look, check out http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_ERGrznxTIwo/RqDof3dG94I/AAAAAAAAFWo/N4qB_6DL3Gw/s1600/Siberia%2Bbaby%2Bmammoth%2B2.jpg

  • WebMonk
  • WebMonk
  • Bart

    Would someone tell me if the estimate that the animal is 42,000 years old contradicts LCMS teaching the age of the earth/creation? If I’m not mistaken, the LCMS adheres to a 6-day creation account, but does that mean it also advocates a 6,000-year-old age for the earth? (I’m not trying to start a ‘young earth’ debate: I’m just asking about LCMS beliefs.)

  • Bart

    Would someone tell me if the estimate that the animal is 42,000 years old contradicts LCMS teaching the age of the earth/creation? If I’m not mistaken, the LCMS adheres to a 6-day creation account, but does that mean it also advocates a 6,000-year-old age for the earth? (I’m not trying to start a ‘young earth’ debate: I’m just asking about LCMS beliefs.)

  • WebMonk

    And, yes, radiocarbon dating was done on the carcass – it came in at 40,000 years old, which is probably why the WaPo used that number.

    You can find out more at the National Geographic site I linked to above. The WaPo must have needed some filler to have used this story – it’s an old one.

  • WebMonk

    And, yes, radiocarbon dating was done on the carcass – it came in at 40,000 years old, which is probably why the WaPo used that number.

    You can find out more at the National Geographic site I linked to above. The WaPo must have needed some filler to have used this story – it’s an old one.

  • WebMonk

    Bart, according to the YEC view (and LCMS) the dates are mistaken, and the corpse is really only around 4300 years old. (that being the date of the Flood)

    The latest theory put forward by AiG, ICR, and others is that the radiocarbon (and uranium, thorium, etc) datings which generate such large ages come out like that because of a sudden million-fold increase in the rate of radioactive decay which happened during the Flood.

  • WebMonk

    Bart, according to the YEC view (and LCMS) the dates are mistaken, and the corpse is really only around 4300 years old. (that being the date of the Flood)

    The latest theory put forward by AiG, ICR, and others is that the radiocarbon (and uranium, thorium, etc) datings which generate such large ages come out like that because of a sudden million-fold increase in the rate of radioactive decay which happened during the Flood.

  • Jonathan

    Many are wont to say that we shouldn’t be so dogmatic about the age of the earth while we, at the same time, officially hold to a 6-literal-day creation. Count it as just another mystery, I suppose. I wasn’t there, you weren’t either, that’s enough. It is a weird position to take.

  • Jonathan

    Many are wont to say that we shouldn’t be so dogmatic about the age of the earth while we, at the same time, officially hold to a 6-literal-day creation. Count it as just another mystery, I suppose. I wasn’t there, you weren’t either, that’s enough. It is a weird position to take.

  • WebMonk

    Sorry about all the posts here. About the state of preservation, the National Geographic story gives some more detail about what the scientists found when investigating. The first clue came from the odd smell of the corpse:

    She had literally been pickled after she died, which protected her from rot once her body was exposed again, thousands of years later. The lactic acid produced by the microbes also could have caused the odd bone distortion and muscle separation that Fisher had noticed during the autopsy, and perhaps even encouraged the formation of vivianite crystals by freeing phosphate from her bones.

  • WebMonk

    Sorry about all the posts here. About the state of preservation, the National Geographic story gives some more detail about what the scientists found when investigating. The first clue came from the odd smell of the corpse:

    She had literally been pickled after she died, which protected her from rot once her body was exposed again, thousands of years later. The lactic acid produced by the microbes also could have caused the odd bone distortion and muscle separation that Fisher had noticed during the autopsy, and perhaps even encouraged the formation of vivianite crystals by freeing phosphate from her bones.

  • Bart

    Thanks, Webmonk.
    I’m no scientist, but I once read the argument that if someone had been able to analyze the wine Christ made from water at Cana (John 2), it would have scientifically appeared to be ‘old wine’ (as it tasted), though it had just been created. Same with those who were healed. Take the lame man in Acts 3, healed by Peter. Had his legs been x-rayed the day after the healing, would they have appeared to be as old as he otherwise was? I think these are interesting, serious questions, though perhaps unanswerable. I am not a ‘young earth’ proponent.

  • Bart

    Thanks, Webmonk.
    I’m no scientist, but I once read the argument that if someone had been able to analyze the wine Christ made from water at Cana (John 2), it would have scientifically appeared to be ‘old wine’ (as it tasted), though it had just been created. Same with those who were healed. Take the lame man in Acts 3, healed by Peter. Had his legs been x-rayed the day after the healing, would they have appeared to be as old as he otherwise was? I think these are interesting, serious questions, though perhaps unanswerable. I am not a ‘young earth’ proponent.

  • ptl

    Good point above Bart….that has been my problem with the creation vs. evolution debate (and others), in that you either have miracles or you don’t. And if you do, then they must by definition, transcend the normal rules/laws of nature. Most likely, it might follow that any search for evidence of a pre-miracle state might come up empty in the same way that those pieces of evidence could be either swept away by another miracle, or covered by the effects of the first miracle in the first place. Why not after all, since we have agreed that that is the nature of a miracle? Or do we? Once you begin the backslide away from the possibility of miracles (either micro or macro) then you can toss away the parting of the Red Sea, the water into red wine, the virgin birth, the healings, the resurrection, and on and on…none of them can be explained without referring to supernatural causes, at least it seems that way to me. Besides, what’s the point of being able to do these “minor” miracles, but not “major” things? So if you toss out creation too, how do you ever expect God to have the power to destroy His universe upon His return, and to create another one, hopefully in the blink of an eye, and one without all the problems we have in this one? It’s all part of a very dangerous and slippery slope, and a useless, pointless exercise that has little or no value in strengthening faith in my mind.

    As per using whatever techniques to bring back a living little mammoth. Why not? It can go on tour, and we can all stare at it and pat ourselves on the back for how smart we are and how much closer we are getting to doing even more powerful, wonderful things? Perhaps ultimately, when we learn enough, creating a universe in our own image?

  • ptl

    Good point above Bart….that has been my problem with the creation vs. evolution debate (and others), in that you either have miracles or you don’t. And if you do, then they must by definition, transcend the normal rules/laws of nature. Most likely, it might follow that any search for evidence of a pre-miracle state might come up empty in the same way that those pieces of evidence could be either swept away by another miracle, or covered by the effects of the first miracle in the first place. Why not after all, since we have agreed that that is the nature of a miracle? Or do we? Once you begin the backslide away from the possibility of miracles (either micro or macro) then you can toss away the parting of the Red Sea, the water into red wine, the virgin birth, the healings, the resurrection, and on and on…none of them can be explained without referring to supernatural causes, at least it seems that way to me. Besides, what’s the point of being able to do these “minor” miracles, but not “major” things? So if you toss out creation too, how do you ever expect God to have the power to destroy His universe upon His return, and to create another one, hopefully in the blink of an eye, and one without all the problems we have in this one? It’s all part of a very dangerous and slippery slope, and a useless, pointless exercise that has little or no value in strengthening faith in my mind.

    As per using whatever techniques to bring back a living little mammoth. Why not? It can go on tour, and we can all stare at it and pat ourselves on the back for how smart we are and how much closer we are getting to doing even more powerful, wonderful things? Perhaps ultimately, when we learn enough, creating a universe in our own image?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Maybe we can bring the mammoths back to life on some secluded island, where they can’t escape. We could breed only females, to control the population, just in case. As long as our computer programmers don’t shut down the security system, I don’t see how anything could go wrong.

    I’ll call it Pleistocene Park.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Maybe we can bring the mammoths back to life on some secluded island, where they can’t escape. We could breed only females, to control the population, just in case. As long as our computer programmers don’t shut down the security system, I don’t see how anything could go wrong.

    I’ll call it Pleistocene Park.

  • Paul E.

    tODD,

    That sounds like a fantastic idea, as long as the scientists don’t use frog DNA to fill in the gaps.

  • Paul E.

    tODD,

    That sounds like a fantastic idea, as long as the scientists don’t use frog DNA to fill in the gaps.

  • ptl

    to tODD above…I take great offense to your discriminatory policy of breeding only females to control the poplulation…the same thing could be done by breeding only males….you do know that right :)

  • ptl

    to tODD above…I take great offense to your discriminatory policy of breeding only females to control the poplulation…the same thing could be done by breeding only males….you do know that right :)

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    When did you become LCMS? You want to point me to something that says the LCMS says this Mammoth is only 4,300 years old?
    We affirm a six day creation, that is about what can be said of our position, as has been reiterated here many times.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    When did you become LCMS? You want to point me to something that says the LCMS says this Mammoth is only 4,300 years old?
    We affirm a six day creation, that is about what can be said of our position, as has been reiterated here many times.

  • John C

    I wonder where Patrick Henry College stands on the controversy of Intelligent Design and the age of the earth. For instance, is ID part of the science curriculm?

  • John C

    I wonder where Patrick Henry College stands on the controversy of Intelligent Design and the age of the earth. For instance, is ID part of the science curriculm?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    John (@17), I don’t know why you want to know, but the answer can be found on PHC’s Web site.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    John (@17), I don’t know why you want to know, but the answer can be found on PHC’s Web site.

  • WebMonk

    Bror, I am quite aware of that, and I was just going off of what the LCMS website says. They say they don’t have any position on the age of the earth, but then under that they say there are ways to harmonize the scientific evidence with the Bible, such as God making everything just “appear” to be old.

    Yes, you’re correct that they don’t have an “official” position on the age of the earth, but they definitely have a wink-wink-nudge-nudge that the earth is 6000 years old. (which would make the baby mammoth only around 4300 years old, at the youngest)

    I have some major theological problems with that idea, but at least it is consistent with scientific evidence – if God had made the universe to look old, then there wouldn’t be any way for us to tell that it is only 6000 years old as all the evidence would flawlessly point to an ancient universe.

  • WebMonk

    Bror, I am quite aware of that, and I was just going off of what the LCMS website says. They say they don’t have any position on the age of the earth, but then under that they say there are ways to harmonize the scientific evidence with the Bible, such as God making everything just “appear” to be old.

    Yes, you’re correct that they don’t have an “official” position on the age of the earth, but they definitely have a wink-wink-nudge-nudge that the earth is 6000 years old. (which would make the baby mammoth only around 4300 years old, at the youngest)

    I have some major theological problems with that idea, but at least it is consistent with scientific evidence – if God had made the universe to look old, then there wouldn’t be any way for us to tell that it is only 6000 years old as all the evidence would flawlessly point to an ancient universe.

  • WebMonk

    Sorry, I didn’t provide the link to the LCMS position. Here it is: http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=2207

    They clearly state they don’t have a position on the age of the earth:

    The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod does not have an official position on the precise “age of the earth,”

    Then below they describe how to harmonize the Bible with science:

    God created the world in an already “mature” state, so that scientific “data” leads one to the conclusion that it is older than it actually is, etc.

    Basically they say, “We don’t officially state what the Bible means here, but here’s what the Bible means.”

  • WebMonk

    Sorry, I didn’t provide the link to the LCMS position. Here it is: http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=2207

    They clearly state they don’t have a position on the age of the earth:

    The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod does not have an official position on the precise “age of the earth,”

    Then below they describe how to harmonize the Bible with science:

    God created the world in an already “mature” state, so that scientific “data” leads one to the conclusion that it is older than it actually is, etc.

    Basically they say, “We don’t officially state what the Bible means here, but here’s what the Bible means.”

  • ptl

    Honestly it is so hard for me to see how folks can legitimately doubt that God could have created the Earth in 6 days, and even made it to look older, but have no problem believing all the other miracles (or do they?) and especially the final destruction of the Universe (presumably much more quickly than the creation/evolution) and the creation of a new Heaven and Earth. Throw in on top of that our own resurrection from the dead, in the twinkling of an eye, no less, and on and on….it’s hard for me to imagine their doubt and skepticism doesn’t also extend to these. It seems if God needed all that time for the first go around, He is going to need even more to get it straight and perfect the second time around? My guess is a need to seem legitimate and intellectual and avoid ridicule or mocking (probably not the right words, sorry) in front of their well educated and modern friends? Thanks to God that His plan and deeds and means of salvation are so simple even a cave man can understand them…well maybe not understand them, but believe them!

  • ptl

    Honestly it is so hard for me to see how folks can legitimately doubt that God could have created the Earth in 6 days, and even made it to look older, but have no problem believing all the other miracles (or do they?) and especially the final destruction of the Universe (presumably much more quickly than the creation/evolution) and the creation of a new Heaven and Earth. Throw in on top of that our own resurrection from the dead, in the twinkling of an eye, no less, and on and on….it’s hard for me to imagine their doubt and skepticism doesn’t also extend to these. It seems if God needed all that time for the first go around, He is going to need even more to get it straight and perfect the second time around? My guess is a need to seem legitimate and intellectual and avoid ridicule or mocking (probably not the right words, sorry) in front of their well educated and modern friends? Thanks to God that His plan and deeds and means of salvation are so simple even a cave man can understand them…well maybe not understand them, but believe them!

  • WebMonk

    ptl, a little view from the other side -
    I often have a hard time seeing how people can claim to be honest with the Bible and still say the Bible requires a 6-24 creation. How can people so warp the beginning of Genesis and still claim to be honest with the Bible? Do those sorts of people also take Revelation to be a literal description of what will happen complete with helicopters or tanks as chariots, and Russia invading modern Israel? I can only imagine that the sort of bizarreness which requires Genesis to be describing a 6-24-6000-Flood-at-2300BC must bleed over into other areas, twisting other areas out of context and style, like saying that Jesus meant the 21st century people would see the Sun go dark and the stars start “falling” across the sky. It probably even requires that hidden verses in the Psalms are trying to convey secrets about the expansion of the universe which are only revealed to us with modern microwave/x-ray/infrared space satellites!

    ptl, what I just wrote was much more fair to the 6-24-6000 point of view than you just were to the old earth point of view.

    Nothing like making caricatures of the “other side” and then smacking them around, is there? Whee! We can do this all day!

    My point in what I just wrote isn’t the particulars of what you said about old earth creationists or about what I said about young earth creationists. My point is the silly caricatures made in these two posts – if we disagree about interpreting the Bible, can we at least do it without suggesting derogatory things about “those people” and casting aspersions on their integrity?

  • WebMonk

    ptl, a little view from the other side -
    I often have a hard time seeing how people can claim to be honest with the Bible and still say the Bible requires a 6-24 creation. How can people so warp the beginning of Genesis and still claim to be honest with the Bible? Do those sorts of people also take Revelation to be a literal description of what will happen complete with helicopters or tanks as chariots, and Russia invading modern Israel? I can only imagine that the sort of bizarreness which requires Genesis to be describing a 6-24-6000-Flood-at-2300BC must bleed over into other areas, twisting other areas out of context and style, like saying that Jesus meant the 21st century people would see the Sun go dark and the stars start “falling” across the sky. It probably even requires that hidden verses in the Psalms are trying to convey secrets about the expansion of the universe which are only revealed to us with modern microwave/x-ray/infrared space satellites!

    ptl, what I just wrote was much more fair to the 6-24-6000 point of view than you just were to the old earth point of view.

    Nothing like making caricatures of the “other side” and then smacking them around, is there? Whee! We can do this all day!

    My point in what I just wrote isn’t the particulars of what you said about old earth creationists or about what I said about young earth creationists. My point is the silly caricatures made in these two posts – if we disagree about interpreting the Bible, can we at least do it without suggesting derogatory things about “those people” and casting aspersions on their integrity?

  • WebMonk

    Sorry, I did some erasing and editing before posting and messed up a sentence in there. I meant:

    “ptl, what I just wrote was about as fair to the 6-24-6000 point of view as you just were to the old earth point of view.”

  • WebMonk

    Sorry, I did some erasing and editing before posting and messed up a sentence in there. I meant:

    “ptl, what I just wrote was about as fair to the 6-24-6000 point of view as you just were to the old earth point of view.”

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Phil Spomer

    A few months ago, I gave a paper at our Pastor’s conference (LC-MS) making the case for an old earth. Two of my colleagues adamantly disagreed, on was skeptical, three or four were in agreement, and the rest (4 or 5) didn’t say. Those who disagreed were the most demonstrative.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Phil Spomer

    A few months ago, I gave a paper at our Pastor’s conference (LC-MS) making the case for an old earth. Two of my colleagues adamantly disagreed, on was skeptical, three or four were in agreement, and the rest (4 or 5) didn’t say. Those who disagreed were the most demonstrative.