It's not everyday you get an opportunity to don headwear weaved from the hair of a long-extinct prehistoric beast. In fact, this might just be a world-first.
A hat made from real woolly mammoth hair has been put up for sale, for the hefty price of $10,000, according to a report by the Siberian Times.
The hat, which is crocheted in a traditional Yakutian style, was created by Vladimir Ammosov, a 44-year-old builder from Yakutsk, Siberia. The hair was harvested from a mammoth carcass that had been preserved in permafrost at a site near the Kazachye village in Ust-Yanskiy, Yakutia, and it was made by a local hat-making specialist. And in case you're suspicious, Ammosov had the hair officially verified as mammoth hair by a museum expert.
That expert also had the opportunity to try the hat on. "This was the prickliest hat I have ever worn," he said. "It is completely odorless, but unlike, say, bisons, woolly mammoth had really rough hair. Wearing the hat felt like I was having a head massage."
"Prickly" doesn't sound very comfortable, but perhaps having your head massaged by the coarse fibers of a long-extinct woolly mammoth offers a different kind of coziness. In fact, hats in the Yakutian style — which are usually made of horse hair — are meant to induce the feeling of a head massage, and are said to help with blood pressure and to soothe headaches.
Mammoths actually grew different layers of hair that would have had different textures. There was an outer layer of long, coarse "guard hair," which is what the mammoth was known for. But these creatures also grew a denser inner layer of shorter, slightly curly under-wool. From the sound of it, this hat was probably made of the coarser guard hair layers, although perhaps the hair was also made coarser from the millennia spent frozen in permafrost.
Hats in this Yakutian style are traditionally worn by men, since they derive from a time when they were worn under a warrior's helmet. But Ammosov would also be happy to sell it to a woman because, after all, "we live in the 21st century," he said.
One way or another, it's truly a hat for the ages.
You can view a picture of the handsome headwear here.