Alongside a River, a Most Fascinating Severed Head

A 40,000-year-old severed wolf's head preserved by permafrost was discovered in eastern Siberia

A 40,000-year-old severed wolf's head preserved by permafrost was discovered in eastern Siberia

Interestingly, the paleontologists didn't find the frozen head.

The snarling wolf head measuring 40cm long - about half of the full body length of a modern wolf - was discovered preserved in permafrost in North Yakutia, Siberia. The findings provide new insight into extinct species.

Locals in eastern Siberia who were looking for mammoth ivory along the banks of the Tirekhtyakh River in Yakutia found something else in their search.

According to the Siberian Times, the wolf was found with large teeth, hair, ears, bones and brain in good condition, deep beneath the snow. Dr Protopopov said the head could have been severed by the ice but "we do not exclude that it could have been cut artificially". The cub was estimated to be between 20,000-50,000 years old.

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"This is a unique discovery of the first ever remains of a fully grown Pleistocene wolf with its tissue preserved", paleontologist Albert Protopopov from the Republic of Sakha Academy of Sciences told The Siberian Times.

Scientists are now building a digital model of the brain and the skull's interior for further study, Protopopov said. Their analysis also revealed that the wolf was fully grown and was between 2 and 4 years old when it died. "Maybe the hair colouring makes people think it is a bear, but actually, it is quite unusual to hear, as morphologically this is a very typical wolf". Back in 2015, scientists analyzed the evolutionary split between dogs and wolves using DNA from a 35,000-year-old wolf rib bone discovered in Siberia, Live Science previously reported. Scientists say that they had stronger jaws that helped them killed even bigger animals like bison.

He added that as the climate warms, similar discoveries could be expected in the region. The discovery was announced in Tokyo at an exhibition showcasing the discovery of frozen animals.

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