Cave Lion Cubs Found in Siberia
The bodies of two extinct cave lion cubs from at least 10,000 years ago have been recovered in Russia’s Sakha Republic, almost perfectly preserved in permafrost, The Siberian Times reports.
The Cubs would have Resembled Modern Day Lions
The cubs (Panthera leo spelaea) would have grown up to resemble modern lions. The species lived during the Pleistocene and were widespread in Europe, Asia and northwestern North America.
The Largest Species of Lions “Ever”
The lions in question – easily the best preserved ever discovered – are thought to be Eurasian cave lions (Panthera spelaea), which were among the largest species of lions ever to have lived, with a shoulder height of 1.2 meters (3.9 feet). They would have stalked the grasslands, taking down reindeer, horses, and possibly even young mammoths with which they shared the landscape. Why they disappeared is a little less certain, but perhaps as their prey species dwindled, due to a combination of climate change and human hunting, they were no longer able to survive in the cold north of Europe.
Location of where Cubs were Found
The cubs have undergone a preliminary study, and the results will be presented at the end of November in the Siberian town of Yakutia to both national and international press. They will be shown along with a whole host of other specimens dug out of the permafrost in the region, including mammoths, woolly rhinos and ancient bison. While they have announced that the specimens are free of certain microbial infections, such as deadly anthrax, all other significant details and pictures of the finds are being closely guarded.
Sensational Find may help Scientists
Understand Extinction of Cave Lions
“The find is sensational, no doubt,” a source told The Siberian Times. The rare completeness of the find — and not just skeleton fragments — should help scientists glean new details about how the lions lived and why they went extinct about 10,000 years ago.
The Academy of Sciences of Yakutia plans to display the cubs more fully to worldwide media in November.
Source: The Siberian Times