- NET Web Desk
A team of international scientists has identified a pair of extinct lion cubs, considered best among other preserved specimens ever found.
Found frozen deep in the Siberian Arctic, the cave lion cub looks perfectly preserved. Believed to be 28,000 years old, the cub’s golden fur is still intact.
The study, published in the journal Quaternary, found that the cave lions’ coat was similar but not identical to that of an African lion cub.
Her soft tissues, teeth are mummified but intact, with claws still sharp enough. Researchers termed the cubs as ‘remarkable’.
The Siberian Simba, nicknamed Sparta, was one of two baby cave lions, the extinct big cats that used to roam widely across the northern hemisphere.
Found in 2017 and 2018 by mammoth tusk hunters on the banks of the Semyuelyakh River in Russia’s Far East, initially it was believed, that both cubs were siblings.
Found just 15 meters (49 ft) apart, but a new study identified these cubs differing in age by around 15,000 years.
The other cub, Boris is believed to be 43,448 years old.
Study says both cubs were just 1 or 2 yrs old, when they perished. Although scientists couldn’t reveal the exact reason of their death.
But, the research including Japan and Russian scientists revealed no sign of attack from the predators.
“Sparta is probably the best preserved Ice Age animal ever found, and is more or less undamaged apart from the fur being a bit ruffled. She even had the whiskers preserved. Boris is a bit more damaged, but still pretty good,” said Love Dalen, a professor of evolutionary genetics at the Centre for Palaeogenetics in Stockholm, Sweden, and an author of a new study on the cubs.
However, computed tomography scans depicted skull damage, dislocation of ribs, and other distortions in their skeletons.