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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 (141)

Incredible. Thank you for sharing. Fascinating!!
Jill, Bulgaria
20/08/2019 02:09
0
0
ora pensiamo a clonarli
pittaro andrea, italia
27/07/2019 21:08
0
0
Matthew Lewis, CO2 is not a pollutant, it is probably the most important chemical element for all life on this planet. Now, pollution is entirely another matter and on that almost everyone agrees. Educate yourselves on the basics sheeple before you attempt to tackle the larger issues.
Robert, Smart People Town
19/06/2019 21:55
10
13
I will add my two euro cents. Lets assume Global Warming is made up by fake news propaganda... My question is why deal this card? What harm will come from humanity trying to clean up our footprint on this planet? Big business has enough money. Putting a filter on pollution isn't going to stop that flow of monies. It might slow it down but the guilty parties are still going to continue to get paid either way. Why not recycle? What harm comes from recycling other than slowing production and profit? This isn't a separate country situation people. Its a global problem regardless of who is to blame and what are the causes. We as a species pollute. It is a fact. We produce waste. I am not concerned with what theories are out there or who says what about anything at this point. My question is what is the harm in fixing or at the very least making better what we know we all do?
Matthew Lewis, Clearwater Florida USA
17/06/2019 19:55
17
6
Just wowing after thinking about the world that was there 40,000 years back.
Sanskae, india
17/06/2019 19:18
2
1
Una scoperta bellissima, grazie hai ricercatori che con il loro lavoro ci tengono informati del loro lavoro.
Giuseppe Arangio, Enna
14/06/2019 17:38
3
2
This is simply incredible. 40,000 years old. It boggles my mind and makes me wish I was a scientist with a chance to study it. It's ancient history in the flesh.
Michele, United States
14/06/2019 01:55
13
0
I’m sad that we are destroying the planet-but if we could bring back apex predators I’m sure it would be a good thing, give ‘man’ something to think/fear about! Nee use too much plastic, this we know so why has no Eco company come up with an alternative (too much sponsorship by big corps?) as I find this both distressing and a tad sad, frankly.
To sum up though, why consider bringing these magnificent creatures back just to destroy them again?
Adrian Greaves, Harrogate, UK
13/06/2019 10:42
13
25
Thank you for sharing this incredible find and for both the locals and scientists for preserving and sharing this and future discoveries with the world!
R Scott Demuth, Denver, Colorado USA
13/06/2019 09:24
14
1
Looks like a bear head to me.
Kelly , Bath
13/06/2019 06:10
5
11
Lamentablemente el calentamiento global es una realidad ya presente

Siberia es un ejemplo, cada día se leen noticias de que se descubre una y otra especie que había estado conservada por miles de años gracias al hielo.

Debemos tomar conciencia de que debemos actuar desde ya.
Mariela, Chile
13/06/2019 03:25
3
2
Its incredible to have a glimpse of these animals that witnessed megafauna first hand. Fascinating!
Frank, Marion NC, USA
13/06/2019 01:17
9
1
clearly it agian has to be made clear - evolution is a fact - the THEORY OF evolution BY natural selection is the theory bit you can that or put forward an alternate theory of evolution by 'god' magic or a theory of evolution by alien intervention- what you cannot have is no evolution
Hypatia Atheiria, Lincoln lincs NW EU islands
13/06/2019 01:01
9
38
Only in Russia...and only in Siberia. Very nice!
Michel S., France
12/06/2019 22:54
2
2
To je něco.
Arno, Чешская Республика
12/06/2019 18:38
1
0

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