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Extinct cave lion cub in 'perfect' condition found in Siberia rising cloning hopes

By The Siberian Times reporter
09 November 2017

The young beast's head was resting on a paw in frozen ground for up to 50,000 years, shows amazing first picture.

Excited scientists unveiled the discovery - its facial features clearly visible - in Yakutsk today. Picture: Anastasiya Koryakina

The pre-historic animal was found in permafrost on the bank of Tirekhtykh River of the Abyisky district of Yakutia by a local resident Boris Berezhnov.

Excited scientists unveiled the discovery - its facial features clearly visible - in Yakutsk today. 

The animal was aged around one and a half to two months old when it perished. It is not yet clear whether the cub was male or female. 

Expert Dr Albert Protopopov said: 'It is a perfectly preserved lion cub, all the limbs have survived. There are no traces of external injuries on the skin.'

Frozen cave lion cub


Frozen cave lion cub


Frozen cave lion cub

'It is a perfectly preserved lion cub, all the limbs have survived. There are no traces of external injuries on the skin.' Pictures: The Siberian Times

The preservation is so good that it raises hopes of cloning the species back to life, he said. 

The discovery is seen as better preserved than two tiny cave lion cubs found in the same Siberian region in 2015.

In one of these scientists found what is believed to be traces of mother's milk

'Everyone was amazed then and did not believe that such a thing is possible, and now, two years later, another cave lion has been found in the Abyiski district,' he said.

Frozen cave lion cub


Frozen cave lion cub


Frozen cave lion cub

Tests will be carried out on the latest cub to discover its exact age but the estimate is between 20,000 and 50,000 years old. Pictures: The Siberian Times 

'The preservation degree is even better.' The latest cub is also slightly older. 

The earlier pair - named Uyan and Dina - were said to be some 12,000 years old, dating to around the time the species became extinct. However later research showed them to be up to 55,000 year ago.

Tests will be carried out on the latest cub to discover its exact age but the estimate is between 20,000 and 50,000 years old. 

Analysis of the creature's teeth is expected to give a good indication of the age. 

Frozen cave lions


Frozen cave lions


Frozen cave lions


Frozen cave lion cubs


Frozen lion cub


Frozen cave lions

The earlier pair - named Uyan and Dina - were said to be some 12,000 years old, dating to around the time the species became extinct. However later research showed them to be up to 55,000 year ago. Pictures: Vera Salnitskaya

Significant results are expected after around three years research, said Dr Protopopov, head of the department for the study of mammoth fauna,  Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).

Berezhnov spotted the carcass of an 'unrecognisable animal' in September after a drop in the river's water level. 

The length of the cub's body is 45 centimetres. 

Dr Protopopov told journalists  the preservation of the remains of a lion cub may allow an attempt at cloning.

Comments (11)

I agree with Albert from Catalonia. Why clone an animal that is d8rectly related to other animals we are pushing to extinction. We humans-meed to learn how-to share the sandbox. We do n9t need to clone lions to mamahe wild herbivores, we need to let the apex predators do that. The main benefit from cloning would serve the very wealthy...think big game parks/ zoos...would be morally bereft to clone bring back an animal..then treat it so inhumanly...and to the guy from NY...you called the person from the EU a communist...Socialism and Communism are COMPLETELY different, and by the way our system of Oligarchs, here in the US is MUCH worse!
Mj, USA
14/11/2017 09:55
3
0
we may not know the sex of the cub so i wanted to name it l'venok meaning lion cub in russia until they figure the gender of the cub someday thats the name i want to give it if it has no name
Chris Mckenzie, cumberland RI
13/11/2017 07:25
3
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Clone it, bring it back to life, then send it over to Donald j. Trump, It will be a guaranteed way to get rid of the mornon and make the world safer.
Acha, Den Haag. the Netherlands.
13/11/2017 04:11
12
13
Cloning may restore genetic material that could be used to strengthen and improve the stock of modern large cats. We won't know until we study the material, and that can't be done without restoring the species. There is knowledge to be gained, but only if we are willing to open the book and study the contents.
Mike, Maine, USA
13/11/2017 01:45
3
1
Folks, stop showing off your great political thinking. The cave lion was NOT a separate species, the DNA analysis revealed that it was, well, just lion - a little bit more adapted to the cold climate. It would not make sense to clone them (the journalists have fun as usual).
Maria, Russia
11/11/2017 14:20
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@Albert, learning how to actually clone one of these animals can give us insights into how to protect current species.

@John, the ecosystem that lion species lived in does not exist anymore. You don't have such things as wolly rhinos and Mammoths anymore to sustain such animals for example. Their extinction is still debatable as it was perhaps a combination of climate change and us.
Steven, Canada
11/11/2017 04:02
2
1
# John: "[...]their extinction was driven by us [...]". I´d love to hear you comment on how the humans might have be the cause of their extinction 20.000-50.000 years ago. As far as I know, air polution by industrial revolution etc. has started some years after they were already extincted...
John 2, European Union
11/11/2017 02:06
1
3
Nature— selected them for extinction You European communist ....
Rodericko, New York
10/11/2017 20:51
1
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Albert, they should clone this animals because their extinction was driven by us, and now Holartic ecosystems lack this fundamental species that kept control of big herbivorous populations. We must bring them back, 'it's our duty to restore the ecosystems and make them sustainable in the long term again.
John, European Union
10/11/2017 19:13
3
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Why would they clone them? If we are unable to preserve the current species of large cats and their habitats, why should we clone them? Wasting money and resources for a whim.
Albert, Catalonia
10/11/2017 18:03
15
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So interesting! The article speaks of possible cloning. Where the two lion cubs found earlier not candidates for cloning? I would really like to hear more on this, especially if it is determined that an attempt at cloning will be performed on any of the cubs found.
Denine M, America
10/11/2017 06:31
8
1
1

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