Siberian Permafrost Preserved Two 10,000-Year-Old Lion Cubs Wholly Intact
Scientists exploring a remote Russian cave have discovered two almost wholly intact lion cubs, The Siberian Times reports.
The Academy of Sciences of Yakutia announced Monday that two cave lions were discovered this summer preserved by permafrost almost totally intact in the Sakha Republic of Siberia.
Newser reports the animals are “one of Earth’s long-extinct and ancient predators.”
“The find is sensational, no doubt,” a source linked to the discovery told the Russian newspaper.
The Academy of Sciences in Yakutia will properly introduce the cubs at a presentation to the Russian and international media in late November.
“Along with the two lions, paleontologists will also show other Pleistocene animals preserved by ice in this vast region, the largest and coldest in the Russian Federation. Among these will be the famous woolly mammoth Yuka, the ‘Oimyakon’ mammoth, the carcass of a Kolyma woolly rhinoceros, and Yukagir bison and horses,” The Siberian Times reported.
Cave lions lived during the late and middle Pleistocene eras on the Eurasian continent. They are also believed to have roamed Alaska and northwest Canada.
Scientists believe the cave lion went extinct approximately 10,000 years ago, around the same time these two lion cubs are believed to be from, and the hope is studying the cubs will help researchers understand why the cave lion went extinct when it is thought to have had few natural predators.