Fully preserved head of wolf from Ice Age found in Siberia

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Yakutia aerial
Verkhoyansk Range in Yakutia area of Russia. (Credits - Wikimedia Commons)

A perfectly preserved furry head from the Ice Age era has been found by Russian scientists in an expedition of the Mammoth Fauna Study Department at the Russian Academy of Sciences. The head was found preserved in the Siberian Permafrost.  The head of this wolf was predicted to be close to 40,000 years old and was discovered in the Russian arctic region of Yakutia. The wolf’s head was first found by Pavel Efimov, a local resident near the Tirekhtyakh River.

A top researcher from the local branch of Russian Academy of Sciences named Valery Plotnikov has said that the animal belonged to an ancient subspecies of a wolf that had lived the same time when the mammoths lived and slowly led to the extinction of the mammoth species.

Ice Age is a lengthy period in the reduction of temperature of Earth resulting in the expansion of polar ice sheets. Presently Earth is in Quaternary glaciation.

The head which was found is said to be of an adult wolf which is about 25% bigger than the ideal size of the wolves found today. Jikei University in Japan conducted tomographic study and took the help of carbon dating to determine the age of wolf. The gender of the animal was not mentioned as to whether it was male or whether it was female. The size of the wolf’s head is nearly 40 centimetres and it is estimated that the wolf was 2 to 4 years old when it died.

Albert Protopopov, a leading researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences remarked that this is a unique discovery as this is the first time the remains of a fully grown Pleistocene wolf has been found. He further added that now it will be compared to the wolves of the present day and determine in a clearer way how wolves evolved along with the reconstruction of its appearance.

The skulls of the wolves which were previously found were without any covering of tissues and fur whereas the one found currently has a layer of tissues and fir along with ears, tongue and a perfectly preserved brain. It was discovered in August 2018 and the study and scientific investigations are still underway for this animal. Its DNA will now be examined by the Swedish Museum of Natural History. According to scientists, the wolf head was found in the same area where a preserved body of a lion cub was found in 2017, who lived in Ice Age.

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