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Woolly mammoth skeleton fetches record price at French auction

media The mammoth skeleton sold at Aguttes, in Lyon, on 16 December 2017 PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP

The ancient, nearly intact skeleton of a woolly mammoth sold for 548,000 euros at auction in the French city of Lyon on Saturday.

The prehistoric beast's remains were bought by the chief executive of a French waterproofing company Soprema whose logo is a woolly mammoth.

The skeleton will now be displayed in the lobby of the firm in Strasbourg.

One of the largest specimens ever found, the mammoth skeleton measures a little over three metres in height and had an estimated price of at least 450,000 euros because of its fine condition, remarkable because it retained 80 percent of its original bones.

Lived 10,000 years ago

The skeleton, unearthed about 10 years ago in north-west Siberia, was previously the property of a hunter who had preserved the remains at his home.

Experts believe the animal weighed about 1,400 kilos and lived some 10,000 years ago.

Scientists say its teeth show signs of decay, which may have been a factor in its death if that led to it being unable to graze.

Woolly mammoths were once among the most common herbivores in North America and Siberia but came under threat from increased hunting and a warming climate.

They disappeared from the Earth 3,700 years ago.

Mammoth remains are frequently discovered in Siberia and Russia's extreme northern regions; where they are preserved in the frozen earth.

The first complete mammoth skeleton to be sold at auction in France fetched 150,000 euros in 2006.

Another was sold in October 2012 in Paris for 240,750 euros at an auction organised by Sotheby's.

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