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W.Bruce Lincoln

WORLD EXCLUSIVE - Meet this extinct cave lion, at least 10,000 years old

By Anastasia Koryakina
26 October 2015

'Sensational' find of two cubs, the best preserved ever seen in the world, announced today.

The cave lions were almost perfectly preserved in permafrost and could be much older. Picture: Academy of Sciences of Yakutia

The unprecedented discovery of the ancient predator was made this summer in the Sakha Republic, also known as Yakutia. The cave lions were almost perfectly preserved in permafrost and could be much older.

The Siberian Times is proud to be working with the Academy of Sciences of Yakutia which will introduce the cubs properly 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.

Interested media organisations are invited to use the contacts below if they wish to attend. 

The cave lions - Panthera spelaea (Goldfuss) - lived during Middle and Late Pleistocene times on the Eurasian continent, from the British Isles to Chukotka in the extreme east of Russia, and they also roamed Alaska and northwestern Canada. The extinct creatures were close relatives of modern Afro-Asiatic lion.

Finds of  their remains are rare: today's announcement about the existence of the pair is coupled with the confident claim that they are best preserved ever unearthed in the world. 

Yuka


Yukagir mammoth

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. Picture: Academy of Sciences of Yakutia, RGO

Full details will be given at the presentation in November, including the first results of research into the lions.

Previously, only fragments of carcasses, parts of skeletons and individual bones had been found. Until now, in Yakutia, only skulls, some teeth and bones were unearthed which has prevented scientists having more than an approximate image of the extinct creature.

Like other ancient animals, the cave lion became extinct: research on the two cubs could help to explain why they died out around 10,000 years ago, since the animal had few predators, was smaller than herbivores, and was not prone to getting bogged down in swamps, as did woolly mammoths and rhinos. One theory is a decline in deer and cave bears, their prey, caused their demise.  

'The find is sensational, no doubt,' said a source close to the discovery. It is known the remains are free of dangerous infections such as anthrax following initial microbiological analysis, but no other significant details or pictures will be released before the presentation.

For bona fide media wishing to attend, please contact:

Anastasia Koryakina

Tel: +7 924 170 0012

e-mail: anastacia_joy@mail.ru

Dr Albert Protopopov 

Tel: +7 924 660 6395

e-mail: a.protopopov@mail.ru

Comments (52)

Don't mess with God's creations, yes study the creatures .But don't bring them back t


o life.That is wrong, Why not find out how we all can stop global warming and fix it before we go extinct.
Cynthia Bozarth, El Cajon ,San Diego California
16/07/2016 11:40
0
2
These findings really amaze us no doubt.but the idea of making a clone and get back that creature to our world sounds inappropriate.I do not think they can cope with the present environmental conditions of mother nature .
Thanks again to Siberian people for giving us another discovery.
Anindya dasgupta, ,Kolkata , india
15/03/2016 13:52
1
0
Seeing the comments about bringing back these animals to "see what happens" honestly terrifies me that you people have absolutely no idea in what wanting to bring back carnivorous animals that are larger than your average lion could have results in. I think the Jurassic Park movies might give you some insight on what bringing back large carnivorous animals may result in. You will never have complete control over them.
Alaina Gromes, Sacramento, California
29/01/2016 12:46
2
3
Mother nature has many treasures to share with us, if only we look at these items with an open mind. Why can human nature never look at things such as these twins cubs without going to the dark side of who is going to gain what from this discovery has to offer, rather than how did someone discovered these in the first place. Just be thankful that they were discovered and the possible research that we can learn from these two bodies.
Glenn Reed, Spartanburg, SC USA
16/01/2016 02:13
5
1
I wonder how they are preserved, the process. Would cold/ice have to be available immediately for preservation? What environmental conditions preserve the body so remarkable, with the fully intact. Upon the idea of bringing their kind back via their DNA, I'm not keen on that, still unsure as all wildlife we have today are in threat of peril due to man.
Tina Gaffney, Spartanburg, SC
02/01/2016 04:31
5
2
It is amazing to find such creatures at all. My hope it to have them studied and put on display so others can see them. My other thought on the matter is why were they found? Is the global warming so great at this time, 10,000 years later, that they were finally in covered. Or did someone dig them out of a buried cave?
Sandy, Oregon, USA
10/11/2015 01:42
4
2
this exciting news, it's very nice to face the distant past of the earth ...
timetraveler1, Greece
05/11/2015 02:02
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2
I'm a firm believer that animals that we drove to extinction like the dodo,carrier pigeon or, the Tasmanian tiger, should be brought back with DNA!!! I also think that these lions should be brought back. Not for zoo exhibits or lab animals. I think a male and a female should be made and then we need to help them adapt to their environment and then just see what happens. We can at least say we tried to do something good. Something right. Creation not extinction. That's something new for us!!
candace wilson, trade tn. u.s.a
03/11/2015 11:46
9
14
Two cubs, no mom...... sounds like mom did not come back and the cubs died.
Carolyn Penny, Raleigh, NC
29/10/2015 19:56
10
7
I hope they find out why we lost these magnificent animals but stop short of making another deadly predator that no longer has any natural habitat. To clone it would make a zoo exhibit or worse a lab animal .
stella lehn, near casper The United States of America
29/10/2015 09:48
9
6
I hope they find out why we lost these magnificent animals ,but stop short of making more of a deadly predator that has no natural habitat left
stella lehn, outside casper,The United States
29/10/2015 09:42
3
9
Something so incredibly beautiful and touching about the face image of the cub...so many centuries later but these remains have appeared with tangible fur. Ancient cave art has always honoured lions...why, what are we to learn from these remains that have been protected by ice for thousands of years?
Carmen, Ireland
29/10/2015 06:31
8
2
Just Clone them as Dolly ..let the world see them alive .

:)
Checi, Zagreb/ Croatia
29/10/2015 01:31
9
10
Mabry: They would test the remains for anthrax, as the spores can remain dormant in the soil (and these preserved remains) for an indeterminate amount of time, at least hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. It's the same as out here, if animals contracted anthrax in a pasture, the carcasses are burned, and the pasture is quarantined. Anthrax arises in times of doubt and periods of over-grazing.
Kate, South Dakota, USA
28/10/2015 21:45
4
7
Global Cataclysmic event that has us as a species with amnesia, not remembering our own history. Check out Randall Carlson for more info.

"Like other ancient animals, the cave lion became extinct: research on the two cubs could help to explain why they died out around 10,000 years ago, since the animal had few predators, was smaller than herbivores, and was not prone to getting bogged down in swamps, as did woolly mammoths and rhinos. One theory is a decline in deer and cave bears, their prey, caused their demise."
DRam, USA
28/10/2015 20:46
7
2

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