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
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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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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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.
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