Scientists this week released new findings about a cave lion cub discovered by hunters in Siberia between 2017 and 2018. The woman nicknamed Sparta died 28,000 years ago. At first, it was believed to be the same age as another lion found at the same time and region named Boris. However, this animal died 43 thousand years ago. This difference would be an opportunity to study the evolution of organisms that became extinct 14,000 years ago.
The safety of the lions is impressive. Sparta’s fur is covered with soil, but the fibers are not damaged. Teeth, skin, soft tissue and organs were mummified but intact. The nails are even sharper.
“Sparta is probably the best ice age animal I have ever seen. It’s more or less the same, except for the fur, which is a little messy. She’s even preserving whiskers. Boris is still a little damaged, but it’s still good.” Professor of Evolutionary Genetics at the Center for Paleogenetics and author of a new study on puppies.
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Research shows that both animals died when they were one or two years old. There is no evidence that they were the target of any predator, but scientists still do not know the cause of death.
“Considering their safety, they should be buried very quickly so they may have died in a landslide or fallen into a crack in the permafrost. The permafrost melts and creates large cracks due to seasonal frost.” Dylan explained.
In addition to confirming age, the study, published in the journal Quarterly by a consortium of experts from Sweden, Russia and Japan, found that the coat lions’ coat was similar to that of an African lion cub, but not identical. Ice age animals had thick fur, which may have helped them adapt to colder climates. The next stage of research is the DNA sequencing of Sparta, which will reveal the evolutionary history, population size and genetic characteristics of the cave lion.
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