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A.P. Chekhov, 1890

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 (150)

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
Modern gray wolves have average skull lengths of 29cm. This wolf's skull was 40cm or almost 40% larger than a modern gray wolf. The LARGEST dire wolf skull ever found was 33.3cm! This wolf must have been HUGE!
Ronnie Hargrove, United States
09/06/2019 08:43
8
1
It seems that the *beast* is kinda little.
George, Oxford
09/06/2019 08:22
0
3
“Dire wolf, 600 hundred pounds of sin”
Deadheadted, Fairfield USA
09/06/2019 08:08
10
4
Why are all the most recent comments ts from the future?? I call BS on the whole article!!!
Ian B, USA
09/06/2019 08:02
2
40
LF Skinner where did you get August 6, 2019 from?? The date is clearly posted as June 6, 2019



As for the other two commentators y’all need to go get some education.
T Rowe, Hilliard USA
09/06/2019 07:56
11
4
That's all we need. Pleistocene Park. Didn't we learn already from Hammond?
viciouzex, Athens, USA
09/06/2019 07:54
2
0
@ LF Skinner, Pretty much everywhere else in the world records the date as day/month/year, while we in the US use month/day/year. So 8/6/19 in a Siberian journal is an accurate representation of June 8, even though to us it looks like August 6.
AC Slater, Portland, OR
09/06/2019 07:39
11
1

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