On the arctic island of Bolshoy Lyakhovsk, in the Russian republic of Saja, a group of reindeer herders discovered the remains of a cave bear (Ursus spelaeus).
It is a species of prehistoric ursid that lived in Eurasia in the Pleistocene and became extinct about 15,000 years ago. The find is of enormous importance because the body of the animal is in a extraordinary state of conservation.
Scientists at the Northeast Federal University in Yakutsk will be in charge of investigating the bear. The experts, who have extensive experience in the studies of extinct animals, such as mammoths and rhinos, assured that they will invite other specialists to join the work, since it is a phenomenal discovery.
To date, only bones of cave bears were known, hence the finding has been described as something of “world importance” by the scientist Lena Grigorieva, one of the leading specialists in the field.
HUGELY EXCITING! A cave bear carcass has been recovered from the permafrost on an Arctic island – “the first and only find of its kind.” The preservation is remarkable; all internal organs are present. And that nose! Wonderful 📷 NEFU https://t.co/U6nayPIsIp pic.twitter.com/gzggoCyHmA
— The Ice Age ❄️🌞 (@Jamie_Woodward_) September 12, 2020
“This is the first and only discovery of its kind: a whole bear with soft tissues. It is perfectly preserved, with all its internal organs, including its nose. We only had skulls and bones of this species, until now ”, said the researcher, quoted by The Siberian Times newspaper.
This particular specimen would have traveled the lands of the island in the Karginsky interglacial period, that is, between about 22,000 and 39,000 years ago. For a more accurate dating, however, more detailed studies will be required.
As the Arctic permafrost melts, well-preserved animals begin to appear. Woolly rhinos, mammoths, horses, cave lion cubs and other species have been discovered in recent years, all in very good condition.