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The Siberian Times

Still snarling after 40,000 years, a giant Pleistocene wolf discovered in Yakutia

By The Siberian Times reporter
07 June 2019

Sensational find of head of the beast with its brain intact, preserved since prehistoric times in permafrost.

The Pleistocene wolf’s head is 40cm long, so half of the whole body length of a modern wolf which varies from 66 to 86cm. Picture: Albert Protopopov

The severed head of the world’s first full-sized Pleistocene wolf was unearthed in the Abyisky district in the north of Yakutia. 

Local man Pavel Efimov found it in summer 2018 on shore of the Tirekhtyakh River, tributary of Indigirka.

The wolf, whose rich mammoth-like fur and impressive fangs are still intact, was fully grown and aged from two to four years old when it died. 

Pleistocene wolf

The wolf, whose rich mammoth-like fur and impressive fangs are still intact, was fully grown and aged from two to four years old when it died. Picture: Albert Protopopov

The head was dated older than 40,000 years by Japanese scientists.

Scientists at the Swedish Museum of Natural History will examine the Pleistocene predator’s DNA.

‘This is a unique discovery of the first ever remains of a fully grown Pleistocene wolf with its tissue preserved. We will be comparing it to modern-day wolves to understand how the species has evolved and to reconstruct its appearance,’ said an excited Albert Protopopov, from the Republic of Sakha Academy of Sciences. 

Map

Local man Pavel Efimov found it in summer 2018 on shore of the Tirekhtyakh River, tributary of Indigirka.

The Pleistocene wolf’s head is 40cm long, so half of the whole body length of a modern wolf which varies from 66 to 86cm. 

The astonishing discovery was announced in Tokyo, Japan, during the opening of a grandiose Woolly Mammoth exhibition organised by Yakutian and Japanese scientists. 

CT scan


CT scan


CT scan

CT scan of the wolf's head. Pictures: Albert Protopopov, Naoki Suzuki

Alongside the wolf the scientists presented an immaculately-well preserved cave lion cub. 

‘Their muscles, organs and brains are in good condition,’ said Naoki Suzuki, a professor of palaeontology and medicine with the Jikei University School of Medicine in Tokyo, who studied the remains with a CT scanner. 

‘We want to assess their physical capabilities and ecology by comparing them with the lions and wolves of today.’

Pleistocene wolf


Pleistocene wolf

‘This is a unique discovery of the first ever remains of a fully grown Pleistocene wolf with its tissue preserved.' Pictures: Naoki Suzuki

The cave lion cub named Spartak - previously announced - is about 40cm long and weighed about 800 grams. 

Scientists believe the cub died shortly after birth. 

The recent discovery follows that of the remains of three cave lions in 2015 and 2017 by the same team.

The cave lion cub named Spartak - previously announced - is about 40cm long and weighed about 800 grams. Pictures: The Siberian Times, YSIA

Spartak


Spartak


Research


Frozen cave lion cub

Comments (142)

It is very obviously a wolf if you were to study the teeth/skull. Do people really think you can tell what a 40,000 year old head is or isn’t based off of ear shape?? Ears are mainly cartilage which breaks down much more quickly and easily than bone...it’s amazing that there’s even that much ear left on the thing!! Maybe do some research, or even ask people on here why the ears are rounded or why the dates on their comments are different instead of jumping to conspiracy theories or claiming that the scientists who discovered this(and likely have much more experience/knowledge than most of us) are wrong.
Gwen G, United states
09/06/2019 17:52
6
1
For a european it is a little funny to see a lot of you freak about the date. That is the way we write the date over here so it is a legit article :)
Laura, Denmark
09/06/2019 16:31
16
18
looks like the comments of our American experts are for the birds indeed. they do not know most probably where Yakutia is. and for sure do not know how the dates and times are written here. or that -5- is the best abd a -1- is the worst in the school system here. never mind, most important, writing and posting, knowing something or not, posting is the most important matter. MAYBE not to confuse these experts even more, one should write the MONTH completely and not only in Numbers? meaning January AND NOT - 01-.? on the other hand, THIS IS RUSSIA and we have our ways doing things. And that is good so!
Benedikt MORAK, Moscow
09/06/2019 16:00
24
5
Getting in a state about the date being wrong...Americans are just so unbelievably thick...hahaha
Mini Cooper , Paris, France
09/06/2019 13:39
16
26
For everyone freaking out about the dates.... the rest of the world uses day/month/year to record dates.
Meg, Maryland
09/06/2019 11:34
34
6
That is not a bear .. those ears are pointed and I own both wild and bear skulls and that is definitely wolf.
Akblkbear, Alaska
09/06/2019 11:25
9
1
This is not a bear, this is clearly a wolf. The CAT scan showing the teeth clearly indicates that this is a canine. Bears do not have carnassials. Also these dates are European in style where the day comes first then the month in the year. As I type this it is June 8, 2019 on the west coast of the USA but it’ll read 09/06/2019 because this article is probably posted on the eastern hemisphere. So far from my graduate work in paleontology, this article appears legit.
Amy K.., Granite Falls/ USA
09/06/2019 11:20
15
0
Well for one you can obviously see that it’s not 40cm long with the tape measure ribbon roled out beside it! It’s maybe 30-35cm, and there’s wolves nowadays that are the same size and bigger than this! A cool find but definitely need to have someone else do the writing!
White Wolf, America
09/06/2019 10:38
10
17
Am I missing something...or Does anyone find it odd the dates of these comments are August/September of 2019??
It's June 6th 2019 today.
Marley, Wellsville, USA
09/06/2019 10:11
16
78
Bear??
Jean Seabolt , MT.JULIET
09/06/2019 10:09
2
8
Calm down game of thrown freaks!
Joe Q, Mesa Arizona
09/06/2019 10:03
3
4
Yeah thats a BEAR. Look at the rounded ears. A dire wolf has pointed ears just like a modern wolf. This is ridiculous.
Stefanie, USA
09/06/2019 09:33
2
37
Amazing find! Let's clone it so that humans have a natural predator.
Amy, Australia
09/06/2019 09:32
25
1
@Christy S. It says "severed" would that mean it was hunted and the head discarded?

Not necessarily. The head could have become severed at any point in time. Movement of the ice may have detached the body from the head or exposed it. It was found on the shore of a River, so forces of water and melting ice could simply have washed the body away at some point in 40,000 years.
Ria Rakali, Australia
09/06/2019 08:59
12
0
For those posting about the posting dates, in Europe, the day goes before the month, and it is already June 9th in Siberia. So in the US, we would post the date June 9, 2019 as 07/09/19, but in Siberia and Europe they would write it as 09/07/19.
Ronnie Hargrove, United States
09/06/2019 08:48
37
3

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