A video has surfaced online that is going viral. The short 30-second clip shows a creature that some are saying is a live woolly mammoth. The sighting took place in Siberia and was caught on film last summer in the frosty Chukotka Autonomous Okrug region.
(*This article has been updated. Please see below)
The footage of the animal is rather blurry, but it clearly shows a living creature crossing a river. While the claim by the videographer, a government-employed engineer, says it’s the real deal, skeptics say the animal is a bear carrying a fish in its mouth, reported MSNBC.
Others think maybe it is an elephant that perhaps made a wrong turn in the Siberian wilderness, or a hoax video. Allegedly, the hair matches samples from mammoth remains that had previously been dug up from the permafrost in Russia, reports U.K. tabloid The Sun. Not a lot of detail was talked about in this respect, such as how the sample was obtained, which perhaps lends credence that the animal was not a woolly mammoth.
However, rumors of woolly mammoth sightings and herds still roaming the icy region have persevered over the past century, reports ABC News. This is the first known footage captured, but some question its authenticity.
According to The Sun, Paranormal writer and discoverer of "the beast", Michael Cohen said, "Rumours of a handful of mammoths still kicking around in the vast wilderness of Siberia have been circulating for decades and occasionally sightings by locals have occurred. Siberia is an enormous territory and much of it remains completely unexplored and untouched by humans."
Cohen added, "It is highly possible that a number of species, extinct elsewhere, survive in the area."
Woolly mammoths are believed to have been extinct for about 10,000 years and have not been present since the last Ice Age, although a small population remained in the vicinity of Wrangel Island, just off the coast of Siberia, until about 4,000 years ago.
Cohen was said to be in the region scoping out the area for a planned road, his job is in engineering.
Is it a hoax? Or could it be possible a Woolly Mammoth has survived all this time? As of this writing the footage has over 78,400 page views on YouTube. Some viewers are divided in opinion, but many viewers appear to lean towards the bear with a fish theory.
Check the YouTube video and see what you think.
Update Feb. 14, 2012. News has emerged that this woolly mammoth sighting was a hoax and another individual has claimed ownership of river footage and that the "mammoth" was added into the footage.
"I checked it against my footage and knew it was mine when I looked at the placement of rocks in the foreground," documentary filmmaker Lou Petho told Huffington Post.