Saturday, December 25, 1993 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Horse Remains Are 26,000 Years Old


WHITEHORSE, Yukon Territory - Carbon-dating on the remains of a horse found last fall near the Alaskan-Canadian border show it died 26,000 years ago, experts say, making it one of the best-preserved Ice Age animals ever discovered in North America.

The dark chestnut hide is complete with blond mane and tail. Also recovered were a right foreleg with the flesh remaining, a couple of bones and stomach contents.

Miners found the horse near Dawson City, 340 miles north of Whitehorse.

Experts think it may have died in a creek bed and that an overhanging bank collapsed on it, preserving it through the millenniums.

"This is a very significant find in terms of understanding Ice Age animals, and it gives us a window into life in the Ice Age," Yukon archaeologist Ruth Gotthardt said this week.

As one example, she said, artists' depictions have shown the small Ice Age horse as having a short mane and tail, but this animal had a long mane and tail, as well as a beautiful coat.

The remains were so well-preserved that intestinal membranes are distinguishable, complete with digested food.

"We collected enough dung for specialists in botanical fossils and pollen to see what these animals ate," Gotthardt said.

Copyright (c) 1993 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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