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A.P. Chekhov, 1890

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 (54)

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
7
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
3
We listen a news about this discovery on a France popular radio channel this afternoon. Researchers and others are impatient to learn more because we have a lot of prehistoric lions paintings in our caves (Chauvet, Lascaux...) Thanks Siberian people to give us this discovery !
Jocelyne, FRANCE
28/10/2015 19:48
23
1
I hear ya, I do. Evolutionary biology is my favorite arm chair science. No one even mentions what impact humans may have had on their demise (in this article). I'm just going with my gut. I look at that thing, and I'm afraid. There is a deep seated ancient aversion to it. Granted people at that time probably weren't organized enough to have a huge influence one way or another, however, I would bet that when we did meet them, one predator wasn't going back to the cave.
Jason, USA
28/10/2015 12:27
9
4
Cubcicles - Cool! What a fantastic find. I immediately thought of cloning. Can't wait to hear the full report in November. Thrilling and the sort of information that should make nightly news 24/7.
Mary Amen, San Francisco USA
28/10/2015 11:53
6
5
How did these animals get buried in ice?
Steven Fontaine, Quebec, Canada
28/10/2015 07:34
10
9
Wonderful find and thank you for good reporting, The Siberian Times...look forward to more. Of course Harry, female lions would attack and isolate prey such as offspring, as African lions do now.
Sue, Brisbane
28/10/2015 07:33
1
0
Well if Cave Bears hibernated there could be the possibility of an animal gaining the advantage and the element of surprise..especially if the lions hunted in numbers like they do now
Katina Foster, Lakewood CO
28/10/2015 06:26
3
2
I suspect the mother was abducted by aliens and taken to another planet.
Bill, Far Away
28/10/2015 06:03
6
12
What a magnificent find of one of our planets great creatures. As for what they ate there was a publication in Quaternary International identifying Cave Bear cubs, not adult bears as Harry may be eluding to.
Jeff, Cave Creek, Arizona
28/10/2015 05:18
3
0
I find this very interesting but being a layman why would you test it for anthrax?
mabry Hesnon, fairdealing/USA
28/10/2015 04:45
0
1
Clone them?

We're talking about being that have no idea what century their in, and they'll defend themselves..violently if necessary.
Raptor, US
28/10/2015 04:37
2
3
bot in bible sorry
sinner, usa
28/10/2015 04:36
0
7
Wonder if they could extract DNA ? If cloning might be possible ?
Pam, Columbus Ohio USA
28/10/2015 04:31
7
3
What a terrible way for a baby to die. :(
Janjan, Arlington USA
28/10/2015 04:30
6
1

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