In the summer of 2018, a youngster called Pavel Yakovlev found what looked like nothing more than a piece of bone. The 11-year-old made the discovery near his village in the Sakha Republic, which is part of the Russian Federation. But when experts reviewed the boy’s find, it turned out to be much, much more than just an old bone fragment.
The Sakha Republic, also known as Yakutia, lies in Russia’s far eastern region, and it extends for about 1.2 million square miles. That’s not far off a third of the size of the entire U.S., which spreads out over some 3.8 million square miles in total.
This sprawling Russian region also has the distinction of containing one of the planet’s coldest permanently inhabited villages: Oymyakon. Remarkably, a public thermometer installed in an attempt to attract tourists to this chilly outpost shattered after recording a temperature of -79.6 °F in January 2018. How many tourists made it to the Siberian destination before the thermometer smashed to smithereens is unknown.