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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 (143)

August 6, 2019 is posted as if it is the date of the posting. What kind of recording is this?
LF Skinner, Colorado, USA
09/06/2019 03:43
13
33
Full grown modern Canis lupus are far larger than 66 to 86cm. Average is 100-160cm. This beast probably wasn’t that much larger.
Joan Henry , USA
09/06/2019 03:39
16
10
hi! its great we must preserve this animals and soon revive them with dna rna technics...it would be great to have a pleistocene ,ice age park for these big animakls go johnb.
john bevegård., stockholm sweden.
09/06/2019 02:32
11
10
"Older than 40,000 yrs old? Is there no way to actually date it? That isn't a long time, historically speaking. I would think it would be hundreds of thousands of years old at least or perhaps millions. Here's a mind blower.....what if it's modern? I have heard many an expert confess that the 'dating system' is way off and most "facts" are simply guesses. Infuriating."



These so called *experts* can't be such because everything you just wrote is completely wrong, sorry. (An actual archaeologist who works with palaeolithic material.)
JC, Wales, United Kingdom
09/06/2019 02:20
34
42
Pleistocene is a time period not a breed the Dire wolf lived in the same time period as this wolf so not ancestor but a close relative. For all we know it could be a Dire wolf bred with another type of wolf and that was the offspring
Fenrir,
09/06/2019 02:14
7
4
I can't be the only one who got really sad when they saw the lion cub
Bryan Sieber, Ephrata/ USA
09/06/2019 01:10
49
5
The Abyinsky District of Tyrekhtyakh River of Yakustk....is very closer to Alaska.



My theory that this wolf is a Close Ancestor to our Dire Wolf of the Americas : As far as I know, no one can cite a Better Candidate for an ancestor / candidate of our Dire Wolves of the Americas. They had to have come from Somewhere.....right ? Our Dire Wolves didn't just "materialize" from thin air. So I would like to contend this is an ancestor of our Americas Dire Wolves.
Mary K. Edris, Atlanta, USA
09/06/2019 01:05
13
7
The prominent projection off the read occiput of the skull, the size of the skull and age estimate would make this very comparable to the Dire Wolf of North America. Given the land bridge from Siberia to Alaska, it will be interesting to see if DNA comparison establishes that they are different species or the same.
Mangonboat, Asheville, NC USA
09/06/2019 00:43
19
1
Great but don't try to bring them back ...Never challenge NATURE .
Ajay Singh, Gurugram , INDIA
09/06/2019 00:41
16
14
Clone her!
Mark Hedges, United States
09/06/2019 00:39
18
6
Hey there, i'm an Archaeologist and i have yo Say that your comment is verte stupid. Science has standards so, they have basis un the context of the deposition, like charcoal, some Wood between the mudd, even pollen.
Reply to Wertha Barrer, México
08/06/2019 23:54
15
14
So we haven't found this yet....... It is ....never mind
Mike Tawney, Nottingham Md.
08/06/2019 23:46
1
6
Older than 40,000 yrs old? Is there no way to actually date it? That isn't a long time, historically speaking. I would think it would be hundreds of thousands of years old at least or perhaps millions. Here's a mind blower.....what if it's modern? I have heard many an expert confess that the 'dating system' is way off and most "facts" are simply guesses. Infuriating.
Weltha Barrett, USA
08/06/2019 23:32
11
52
Brilliant find. We watched a programme not long ago about the finds in the permafrost in Siberia.
Jacqueline Saunders , Cricklade Wiltshire UK
08/06/2019 23:28
4
1
We need to clone it so people could have another weird pet in their home.
tom mayer, United States
08/06/2019 23:24
12
11

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