40,000-year-old wolf’s head discovered
Scientists have announced the incredible discovery of a giant severed wolf's head in Siberia dating back tens of thousands of years.
The body part, discovered near the remote Tirekhtyakh River, is believed to have been magnificently preserved in the Siberian permafrost.
The discovery of the severed wolf's head, which is believed to be about 40,000 years old, was made by local man Pavel Efimov in the Summer of 2018. Reported to scientists at the time, the incredible discovery has just been announced by researchers studying the Ice Age mammal.
The massive head is almost 40cm in length, compared to the average size of a contemporary Siberian Gray wolf, which has a head length of about 25 centimetres.
It's not known why the ancient canine's head was severed, but it's not likely to have been because of a human hunter. Humans didn't begin to inhabit the region where it was discovered until about 32,500 years ago.
"This is a unique discovery of the first-ever remains of a fully grown Pleistocene wolf with its tissue preserved," Russian scientist Dr Albert Protopopov told The Siberian Times.
"We will be comparing it to modern-day wolves to understand how the species has evolved and to reconstruct its appearance."
The wolf's head will now be examined by scientists at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, who will study it's DNA. The discovery was announced in Tokyo at an exhibition showcasing the discovery of frozen animals.
"Their muscles, organs and brains are in good condition," Naoki Suzuki, a professor of palaeontology and medicine with the Jikei University School of Medicine in Tokyo said. The team took CT scans of the ancient remains.
"We want to assess their physical capabilities and ecology by comparing them with the lions and wolves of today."
The frozen wolf's head, discovered last year, was found about the same time as a "perfectly preserved" lion cave cub. The cub was estimated to be between 20,000-50,000 years old.
The two incredible discoveries were displayed together at the Toyko exhibition.