Cave Lion Cub, Dead for 30 Millennia, Discovered in Siberia

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The specimen (pictured) was so well-preserved in permafrost that it's whiskers are still intact. (Love Dalén/Stockhom University's Centre for Palaeogenetics via Twitter)

Near-Perfect Cave Lion Cub Corpse Found in Siberian Permafrost

by David Kindy/Smithsonianmag.com

The video shows scientists examining a dead lion cub. They take hair samples from the tiny corpse, which looks like it might have died only a few days ago. In fact, it has been deceased for nearly 30 millennia—covered in permafrost in Siberia until recently.

Sparta, as this female cave lion is called, is estimated to be 27,962 years old, according to a study published this month in the journal Quarternary. It may be the most well-preserved specimen ever found—so intact that she still has whiskers, reports Carly Cassella of ScienceAlert. Sparta was likely one or two months old at the time of death.

Scientists found this Ice Age cave lion (panthera spelaea) and another less-intact cub named Boris, estimated to be 43,448 years old, at a dig site near the Senyalyakh River in eastern Siberia above the Arctic Circle. Larger than African lions, the species lived in colder climates across Eurasia until going extinct about 10,000 years ago, reports Tim Fitzsimmons of NBC News.

“To my knowledge, this is the best-preserved frozen specimen from the last Ice Age ever found,” study author Love Dalén, an evolutionary geneticist Stockholm University’s Centre for Palaeogenetics, tells NBC News. “Sparta is in near-perfect condition.”

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Biography
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.

She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – one daughter-in-law; Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescue pups.

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