16-inch head of a giant Ice Age wolf found preserved after 40,000 years

08:50 (GMT+2) Wed, 12 Jun 2019

Scientists have unveiled the head of a huge Ice Age wolf which dates back more than 40,000 years.

The snarling remains was found preserved in permafrost in the Yakutia region on Siberia.

The head is almost 16 inches long, nearly twice the size of the head of its modern-day descendant, the Gray wolf, at 9.1-11 inches. 

It was discovered above the Arctic Circle by local man Pavel Efimov in summer 2018 near the remote Tirekhtyakh River but the find was only now revealed.

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Frozen in time: The snarling beast with its brain intact was found preserved in permafrost in the Yakutia region on Siberia - and dates from more than 40,000 years ago. The head is almost 16 inches long - half the whole length of a modern-day wolf in Siberia


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The head of the 40,000-year-old wolf was 16inches long while the head of a modern day Gray wolf is 9.1-11 inches long

The reason the wolf's head was removed is not known, but it's unlikely to have been the trophy of an ancient hunter since early man only started to arrive in this part of northern Russia around 32,500 years ago, it is believed.

Russian scientist Dr Albert Protopopov said: 'This is a unique discovery of the first-ever remains of a fully grown Pleistocene wolf with its tissue preserved.'

'We will be comparing it to modern-day wolves to understand how the species has evolved and to reconstruct its appearance.'

The predator with a thick 'mammoth-like' coat and impressive fangs seems to have been larger than today's Siberian wolves. 

Scientists at the Swedish Museum of Natural History will examine the Pleistocene predator's DNA, reported The Siberian Times. 

The discovery of the wolf was announced in Tokyo at an exhibition of remains of frozen wolf including woolly mammoths.



Comparative: The decapitated head is almost 16 inches long, around half the full length of a modern wolf in Siberia, and pre-dates human existence in the region by 8,000 years

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In detail: A CT scan of the wolf's head shows exactly how much of it was preserved in the freezing temperatures of Siberia, after it laid there for approximately 40,000 years

In tact: The animal's teeth also remain in tact, having escaped years of erosion from the elements and interference from predators in the wild region  

The wolf was found around the same time as a previously announced cave lion cub named Spartak and the Ice Age remains are displayed together.

'Their muscles, organs and brains are in good condition,' said Naoki Suzuki, a professor of palaeontology and medicine with the Jikei University School of Medicine in Tokyo, who made 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.'

Impressive: The astonishing discovery was announced in Tokyo, Japan, during the opening of a grandiose Woolly Mammoth exhibition organised by Yakutian and Japanese scientists.

By WILL STEWART IN MOSCOW FOR THE DAILY MAIL


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