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'What happens in Sibera stays in Siberia...unless it is covered by The Siberian Times'

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)

@TexSpence, it's not future comments, the rest of the world outside the US uses the day-month-year format rather than the month-day-year that we do. It makes more sense because it goes from smallest to largest.
Techtom75@gmail.com , Maine
08/06/2019 22:56
18
2
“Snarling”? This journalist chose a poor and biased titled. Poor animal probably in its death throes and writer wants it depicted as menacing. Even dead humans will exhibit lips pulled back and teeth exposed.
GPC, Fredonia USA
08/06/2019 22:55
39
11
An amazing discovery to all man kind. I do hope that people start appreciating extant species rather than extinct ones.
Matthew Tabone, Malta
08/06/2019 22:44
8
1
My apologies - I failed to realize I had stepped out of the borders of my country on this one. THe date pattern is perfectly fine. Not the US standard, but the EU standard. My bad. Have a nice day.
TexSpence, Cedar park, Tx
08/06/2019 22:42
21
1
Please pardon my ignorance. The date structure didn't dawn on me until I posted. I understand and will bask in my newfound fame of being one of the uneducated Americans on this page. :-D
TexSpence, Cedar Park, Tx
08/06/2019 22:34
28
1
Ummm...Wolf from Wolfsburg USA
Half of 3 feet IS 45.8 cm, so yes, it is almost half a modern wolfs body. Math much?
Teddi, WV United States
08/06/2019 22:28
4
1
So how come the dates on the above comments are coming from the future?
TexSpence, Cedar Park, Tx
08/06/2019 22:08
9
21
It says "severed" would that mean it was hunted and the head discarded?
Christy S., Hattiesburg,MS U.S.A.
08/06/2019 21:43
9
5
At least there are some benefits to melting permafrost. Amazing preservation of both these animals.
Marian Hennings, USA
08/06/2019 21:42
1
6
Fantastic work being done. Amazeing what they find when the ice melts. What discoveries to come.
David Creagh, Ireland
08/06/2019 21:09
4
0
The whole body of a wolf today, Guess they have never really measured a real wolf of today. I have seen some that are over 3 foot long, and from nose to tail tip being over 7 foot long..
Wolf, Wolfsburg USA
08/06/2019 19:40
5
15
These are incredible finds! I am absolutely fascinated and hope to see more published on the studies.
Sharon Smith, USA
08/06/2019 19:10
9
0
@Robert Chope



Body length, as in not including the neck and head.
Fade2gray, UK
08/06/2019 18:15
13
0

I'm a Masters student in zooarchaeology. It's definitely not a bear head. Look at the molars in the CT scan photos. Bears are omnivores and have grinding molars similar to our own. This animal has sharp, pointed molars characteristic of carnivores and dentition which matches the canids (wolves, dogs, etc.).
Steve Spencer, Washington State, USA
08/06/2019 18:02
38
2
I'm no Scientist, but that sure looks like a Grizzle Bear head to me, not a wolf. The color of
The fur, size and shape of the mouth seem incredibly Bear-like. I'm certain the experts have proven
me wrong by now with DNA swabs, but in any case, it's extraordinarily interesting!!
Sarah C, CA
08/06/2019 14:34
4
47

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