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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. 


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


Dr Albert Protopopov 

Tel: +7 924 660 6395


Comments (55)

What a terrible way for a baby to die. :(
Janjan, Arlington USA
28/10/2015 04:30
Are they going to preserve their DNA / Blood samples Etc. ?
Fennis Liebman, Coos Bay, Oregon USA
28/10/2015 03:28
This an amazing discovery! I hope that you are able to preserve it and use it to tell more stories of the ages and its inhabitants. Keep up the great research. Our youth need you!
Emily Holland, Atlanta, GA - United States
28/10/2015 03:17
Wow! Just WOW! Talk about Time Travel!!
Kimberly, Santa Cruz, CA USA
28/10/2015 03:05
Look at a new born baby before it is cleaned up and look at the cub and it looks like a new born, if that is blood on its mouth. that cub
Charlotte Taylor-Tillotson, Florida, USA
28/10/2015 01:57
~ARCHAEOLOGY 'N PALEONTOLOGY IS ALWAYS FASCINATING.. Thank-you for this Post, and like Steven Lang above stated, I would hope the 'Siberian Times' publishes all the findings of the expedition..
R. Andre' Stevens, Corvallis, Montana, USA
28/10/2015 01:32
For English speakers---in German, DNS is means the same. A stands for acid, S for Säure (= acid).
L.E. Alba, Long Hill, NJ USA
28/10/2015 01:16
What are the distinguishing characteristics of the lion cub compared to a present day lion cub? From what I can see, it they look similar.
Jesse James,
28/10/2015 01:07
I found myself wondering if maybe the mother was killed somehow. I know nothing of "cave lions". Did they run in prides as a rule? Maybe these were very young (hard to tell from pic) and therefore mom had not introduced them to the rest of the pride yet before she died. Just thoughts...
Sharon, Texas
28/10/2015 00:25
There could have been more powerful lion species that preyed upon this particular lion species. Cubs that died could indicate parents were killed and were left to fend for themselves, or they could have been abandoned by the parents. Wow just wow! what a discovery
Jay , USA
28/10/2015 00:14
28/10/2015 00:14
Hope that they find out more about the Cubs and let the World know more!
Tom Justus, Bardstown,Ky.
27/10/2015 23:55
Oh what amazing creatures you have there in Siberia! :)
Sirkku Linnea, Finland
27/10/2015 23:52
They are beautiful. All the finds leave me with a spiritual thought about creation.
Hilda Liegl, Holly Springs North Carolina USA
27/10/2015 23:48
Oh i see they found the props we lost in the snow after shooting parts of "Clan of the Cavebear" there in Yakutia....
What a surprise when they try to extract its "DNS" hahaha
Wake, Los Angeles
27/10/2015 19:20

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