Perfectly preserved cave lion cub found in Siberian permafrost


Scientists have unveiled an extraordinary find — a lion cub found in the Arctic that may be the best preserved Ice Age animal ever found. The female cub, nicknamed Sparta, was found by a local resident named Boris Berezhnev in 2018 along Russia’s Semyuelyakh River. Berezhnev had been searching for mammoth tusks, which he had a licence to collect. “Sparta is probably the best preserved Ice Age animal ever found, and is more or less undamaged, apart from the fur being a bit ruffled,” said Love Dalén, co-author of a new study on the find, in a news release from Stockholm University Friday. “She even had the whiskers preserved.” Sparta, estimated to have died 28,000 years ago, was one of two lion cubs described in the study, published this week in the journal Quarternary. The other was a male cub found by Berezhnev in 2017, just 15 metres from Sparta. At first, the researchers who recovered the cubs in Siberian permafrost thought they were siblings, but the male cub, named Boris, turned out to be much older — having died 43,000 years ago, radiocarbon dating showed.

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