2022 Treadstone Gold's Woolly Mammoth Discovery on Eureka Creek, Yukon, Canada

On June 21, 2022 our company discovered a mummified baby woolly mammoth on the Eureka Creek within Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin Traditional Territory. We immediately halted excavation and reported the find. 

Canadian experts say is the most complete mummified woolly mammoth found in North America and one of the most significant palaeontological discoveries in the world!   Elders from the Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin named the mammoth calf Nun cho ga, which means "big baby animal" in the Hän language.

 

Early examination of Nun cho ga indicates she is a young female woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) that may have died when she was just over one month of age. Geological evidence at the site reveals she lived during the ice age over 30,000 years ago at a time when woolly mammoths, wild horses, steppe bison, lions and giant short faced bears roamed the cold, dusty Yukon hills. Scientific research and the traditional teachings of the Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin together will reveal incredible details about the last moments of Nun cho ga’s precious life.

 

Treadstone Gold is a small family operated placer gold mining company. We leased and began working on this particular claim 4 years ago. The 2022 nine-person crew of Treadstone Gold, were continuing for the second season in this cut where Nun cho ga was discovered.  Our goal is to strip the permafrost in this cut that is requiring depths of 90 + ft of course in the hopes of recovering rich paydirt. 

 

Early afternoon on June 21st, at about 50 to 60ft levels into the permafrost, our first year employee, Travis Delawski was operating an excavator with a ripping attachment -- cutting into the bottom of the frozen wall.  Travis thought he saw something like a skull of ancient bison, little did he know he was under-covering a significant world discovery! 

 

Travis, 31 yrs old from Alberta, with 30 days mining experience under his belt, jumped out of his machine to take a closer look.  He definitely knew this wasn't a skull he saw, it was a head of an animal with skin, eyes.... and then he saw the trunk!  He immediately contacted  Brian McCaughan, the foreman and owner, by two-way radio, reporting, "I found a body!".  Brian upon seeing the mummified mammoth immediately contacted Dr. Grant Zazula, the Yukon palaeontologist in Whitehorse.

 

The baby mammoth was recovered in two pieces, first the top half and then Travis was advised to continue to carefully dig in the same area to recover the bottom half of Nun cho ga.  Dr. Grant Zazula provided Treadstone directions of how to preserve the mammoth as best we could until he was able to dispatch a field crew.  The Treadstone crew wet blankets and tarped the baby, while Jeff Bond, from the Yukon Geological Survey, responded to Zazula’s call for help to travel from Dawson City to recover the mammoth and store it in a freezer.

 

There has been a lot of activity, excitement, learning and appreciation going on at Treadstone's mine site.  There has been gatherings in Dawson City for an unveiling as well as Blessing Ceremony held at the Eureka Site.  We have been informed that over the next month the Yukon government and Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin First Nation will be working together with this discovery.  Tuesday, June 28th a field crew will be at our camp collecting samples of the mud. They will collect other bones in the area (ones we have already collected over the past two years in this cut and any new ones we will be uncovering)  We plan to be  careful, keep our eyes open and treat Nun Cho Ga's resting place with respect.

 

The 2022 Treadstone Crew have been informed by Dr. Grant Zazula to "Buckle up" and enjoy the wonderful journey we are going to be a part of working together with the Yukon Gov't and the Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin First Nation .  "It will be meaningful and so educational for all of us." We look forward to being part of this journey.

 

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