- Title: Cave lion cub found in Siberian permafrost is 28,000 years old
- Date: 13th August 2021
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) LEADING RESEARCHER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF MAMMOTH FAUNA OF THE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE SAKHA REPUBLIC, VALERY PLOTNIKOV, SAYING: "It complements the chain of discoveries because, if we talk about Uyan and Dina, their age was one or two weeks old, but these two (Sparta and Boris) were different ages, a month or two, or probably less, something like this. I think Boris is older because it has lighter wool comparing with Sparta."
- Embargoed: 27th August 2021 08:14
- Keywords: Ice Age animal Russia Siberia lion cubs permafrost
- Location: YAKUTSK, RUSSIA
- City: YAKUTSK, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Europe,Life Sciences,Science
- Reuters ID: LVA009EQ4466X
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Scientists have said that an astonishingly well-preserved cave lion cub found in Siberia's permafrost lived 28,000 years ago and may even still have traces of its mother's milk in it.
The female cub, named Sparta, was found at the Semyuelyakh River in Russia's Yakutia region in 2018 and a second lion cub called Boris was found the year before, according to a study published in the Quaternary journal.
The cubs were found 15 meters apart but are not only from different litters but were also born thousands of years apart. Boris, a male cub, lived around 43,448 years ago, the study said.
The two cubs aged 1-2 months were found by mammoth tusk collectors. Two other lion cubs named Uyan and Dina have also been found in the region in recent years.
Cave lions have been extinct for thousands of years.
Valery Plotnikov, one of the study's authors, told Reuters in the regional capital Yakutsk that Sparta was so well preserved that it still had its fur, internal organs and skeleton.
"The find itself is unique; there was no any other such find in Yakutia," he said.
"Maybe, we hope, some disintegrated parts of the mother's milk (remain intact). Because if we have that, we can understand what its mother's diet was," he said.
Similar finds in Russia's vast Siberian region have happened with increasing regularity. Climate change is warming the Arctic at a faster pace than the rest of the world and has thawed the ground in some areas long locked in permafrost.
(Production: Anastasya Adasheva)
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