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Perfectly preserved prehistoric cave bear discovered on the Russian Arctic island



The perfectly preserved remains of a prehistoric cave bear have been discovered by reindeer herders on a remote island in the Russian Arctic.

The Ice Age cave bear was found in melting permafrost on Bolshoy Lyakhovsky Island, the largest of the Lyakhovsky Islands, which is part of the new Siberian islands off northern Russia. Even the bears’ noses and teeth are intact.

Researchers from the Northeastern Federal University of Yakutsk are studying the carcass, reports the Siberian Times. Initial analysis suggests that the bear is between 22,000 and 39,500 years old.

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Previously, scientists had only been able to detect the bones of cave bears that became extinct 1

5,000 years ago.

In this undated photo published by the Northeastern Federal University, a head of an ice age cave bear found on Bolshoy Lyakhovsky Island or Great Lyakhovsky, the largest of the Lyakhovsky Islands belonging to the new Siberian archipelago between the Laptev Sea and the eastern Siberian Sea in northern Russia.  Reindeer herders in a Russian Arctic archipelago have found an immaculately preserved carcass of an ice age cave bear revealed by the melting permafrost, which has all its internal organs, teeth and even its nose intact.

In this undated photo published by the Northeastern Federal University, a head of an ice age cave bear found on Bolshoy Lyakhovsky Island or Great Lyakhovsky, the largest of the Lyakhovsky Islands belonging to the new Siberian archipelago between the Laptev Sea and the eastern Siberian Sea in northern Russia. Reindeer herders in a Russian Arctic archipelago have found an immaculately preserved carcass of an ice age cave bear revealed by the melting permafrost, which has all its internal organs, teeth and even its nose intact.
(Northeast Federal University via AP)

Researchers at the Northeastern Federal University hailed the find as groundbreaking. In a statement from the university, researcher Lena Grigorieva emphasized that “this is the first and only find of its kind – a whole bear body with soft tissue.”

More research will be done on the bear’s remains.

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This undated photo, released by the Northeastern Federal University, shows the head of an ice age cave bear found on Bolshoy Lyakhovsky Island.

This undated photo released by the Northeastern Federal University shows the head of an ice age cave bear found on Bolshoy Lyakhovsky Island.
(Northeast Federal University via AP)

According to the university, the preserved carcass of a cave bear has also been discovered on Yakutia on the Russian mainland. Scientists hope to get DNA from the remains.

Russia’s remote regions continue to reveal their secrets. Earlier this year, for example, researchers revealed that a frozen bird found in the Siberian permafrost is a 46,000-year-old larch.

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The undated image released by the Northeastern Federal University shows the carcass of an ice age cave bear found on Bolshoy Lyakhovsky Island.

The undated photo released by the Northeastern Federal University shows the carcass of an ice age cave bear found on Bolshoy Lyakhovsky Island.
(Northeast Federal University via AP)

Woolly mammoth finds and other prehistoric remains such as woolly rhinos and cave lion cubs have also been made in the Siberian permafrost on several occasions.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers




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