Russian scientists have found the furry head of an Ice Age wolf perfectly preserved in the Siberian permafrost.
The head of a wolf, which died 40,000 years ago, was discovered in the Russian Arctic region of Yakutia. Because of the freezing conditions, it is so well preserved that its fur, teeth, brain and facial tissue are largely intact.
A Yakutia resident, Pavel Yefimov, found the head last summer on the banks of the Tirekhtyakh river, close to the Arctic Circle in the region of Yakutia, local media outlet the Siberian Times reported.
The head was handed over to the Science Academy of Yakutia. They sent samples and measurement data abroad and with help from colleagues in Japan and Sweden determined its age as approximately 40,000 years, the Siberian Times reported.
The head was shown in public this week in footage provided to Reuters TV by the academy. It shows the head of an animal, visibly bigger than that of a modern wolf, covered with fur and with teeth visible. Its eyes are missing.
Plotnikov, a top researcher at the local branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said the animal belonged to an ancient subspecies of wolf that lived at the same time as the mammoths and became extinct alongside them. Scientists said it was an adult, about 25 per cent bigger than today’s wolves, but did not say whether it was male or female.
Plotnikov called the discovery unique because scientists previously only had found wolf skulls without tissues or fur while this head has ears, a tongue and a perfectly preserved brain.