Ancient Cave Lions Found in Siberia With Their Bodies Intact
(Photo : VCG)
For more than 30,000 years, Russia«s permafrost has preserved the bodies of two lion cubs, with one of them remaining in an intact and immaculate condition, according to a new study published on Live Science . The two cubs named Uyan and Dina, after the name of the river Uyandina where they were found, were just about a week old when they perished. It»s likely that they were crushed to death by a massive collapse of the sediments present in the den. The findings were presented at the 2016 Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting by researchers from South Dakota-based Mammoth Site of Hot Springs.
The tiny cubs were dug in 2015 from their icy grave and it was surprising to note that their body parts like whiskers, soft tissue, ears and fur were completely intact, said Dr Albert Protopopov, a professor at the Yakutian Academy of Sciences. Earlier this year, Hwang Woo-suk, a South Korean cloning expert had taken samples from the cub, with the objective of cloning the animal. However, despite the powerful preservation methods used, their DNA is in a poor condition, Live Science quoted co-author Beth Shapiro.
The researchers found that Uyan«s body that weighed approximately 6lbs was more intact than that of Dina»s, weighing 4.6lbs. However, it«s difficult to find out the gender of the cubs, said Potapova. Furthermore, Uyan»s legs were not adequately developed for walking, but it’s likely that the little one could crawl, she added.
Researchers found the bodies after a sudden summer rise and fall in the level of the river resulted in cracks. This was when Yakov Androsov, a local worker, noticed an ice lens with the cubs inside. Along with the lions, the researchers also found bones of a steppe bison, reindeer, wooly mammoth and wolf in addition to two huge brown bear skulls, believed to have lived between 29,000 to 57,000 years back, Potapova said.