You don’t hear every day about a 28,000-year-old cave lion cub found in good condition. A new study reveals the discovery of two baby cave lions that were found mummified in the Siberian Arctic. One of the cubs is a female nicknamed “Sparta”, and it dates back roughly 28,000 years ago, as radiocarbon dating has revealed.
The other cub is of a male, and it was named “Boris”. This one is even older: 43,000 years old. The news regarding the new findings is brought by The Hill.
The mummified cave lion cub that dates back over 28,000 years is the best-preserved ice age animal that was ever discovered, according to researchers. “Sparta” was preserved in permafrost in an almost perfect condition. The animal’s fur, teeth, skin, soft tissue, as well as organs, are almost intact.
Considering the preservation, the two cave lions must have been buried quickly. They are likely to have died by falling into a crack of the permafrost or as a result of a mudslide.
Eastern Siberia was teeming with extinct cave lions in the late Pleistocene period. The animals were related to the African lions from nowadays. The two cubs differ in age by around 15,000 years.
Love Dalen, the author of the study and an evolutionary genetics professor from the Centre of Paleogenetics in Stockholm, declared for Changing America the following:
Sparta is an incredibly well-preserved animal, and it’s amazing to think that she belonged to a species of large carnivore that has been extinct for more than 10,000 years.
Although Boris was a bit more damaged than Sparta, it can still be considered well-preserved.
The new findings are detailed in the journal Quaternary.