SALT LAKE CITY — Paleontologists have discovered a full-sized prehistoric wolf in Siberia — or, more accurately, its perfectly preserved head. What’s even stranger is how the remains were discovered.
The Washington Post reports the wolf’s head had been reserved in permafrost since the Pleistocene era — about 30,000 years ago. It’s estimated the wolf was 2 to 4 years old when it died, but is much bigger than modern wolves: the head is about 15.7 inches long compared to 9.1-to-11 inches.
According to Gizmodo, the specimen features a fully preserved brain, which could provide insight into ancient animals that isn’t obtainable using other fossils. The Washington Post also notes that scientists from Japan, Russia and the United States are working to create a digital model of the brain and skull.
Interestingly, the paleontologists didn’t find the frozen head. A Siberian local did in 2018, according to Swedish paleontologist Love Dalén.
"Dalén said he and other scientists were filming a documentary there when a Russian who had been searching for mammoth tusks brought the wolf’s head to their camp. A cave lion cub and a mammoth foot, among other fossils, also were found at the site,” the Post writes.
Gizmodo reported in April that a 42,000-year-old horse foal was also found frozen in Siberia in 2018. Scientists apparently extracted liquid blood from the foal’s heart in order to determine whether or not the specimen can be cloned.