Ancient Cave Lion Cubs Found in Russian Permafrost
The animals are at least 10,000 years old and are the best-preserved examples of the species ever.
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 (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.
It's likely they preyed on animals such as bison, juvenile or hurt mammoths, deer, and horses.
"The find is sensational, no doubt," a source told The Siberian Times. The rare completeness of the find -- rather than 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.