Abu Dhabi: Standing tall at four metres and weighing one tonne, a 15,000 year-old woolly mammoth was unveiled as a permanent display at Marina Mall on Tuesday.
The UAE’s latest historical attraction, which features a genuine fossil, was discovered in the late 1990s on the banks of the Irtysh River in Siberia.
Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Adviser to the President of the UAE and Chairman of the National Investment Corporation, along with senior officials, attended the inaugural event, which featured a short documentary with an overview about woolly mammoths, followed by the unveiling of the fossil.
Speaking to Gulf News on the sidelines of the launch, Nikolaos Kontos, Head of Marketing at Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi, said: “The mammoth fossil will be a permanent structure in Marina Mall. We have been told by some of the archaeologists who examined it that there are about 10 [such fossils] in the world and not all of them are 100 per cent whole.
“We are fortunate to have a 100 per cent complete structure, a genuine fossil, which Shaikh Sultan decided to purchase. Not only is it complete from head to toe, it is also the only one in the UAE,” he added.
Marina Mall acquired it from Etihad Gallery and transported it via air to the UAE. Visitors now have the chance to step back into the past and get a close-up view of this piece of history.
The fossil is a Mammuthus Primigenius, a very old male, which was a pure vegetarian. It weighs about a tonne; however, its original weight was approximately 6-8 tonnes.
Woolly mammoths’ coats varied in colour between light and dark and were covered in fur, with an outer covering of long hair and a shorter undercoat. They had short ears and tails to minimise frostbite.
The behaviour of these legendary creatures, which mainly resided in Asia, Europe and North Africa, resembled that of modern elephants.
A fully grown mammoth can weigh up to eight tonnes, equivalent to the weight of a double-decker bus. Mostly known to be gentle creatures who grazed on fresh grass, little is known about the species’ extinction, though experts say it is likely it was due to climate change, human hunting or a combination of both.