Researchers have announced a significant discovery made by reindeer herders in a Russian Arctic archipelago—an immaculately preserved carcass of an Ice Age cave bear. The find, emerging from the thawing permafrost, was uncovered on the Lyakhovsky Islands, with its teeth and even its nose astonishingly intact. Prior to this discovery, scientists had only been able to uncover the bones of cave bears, which became extinct 15,000 years ago.
The scientists from the North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk, a leading center for research into prehistoric species like woolly mammoths, have hailed this finding as groundbreaking. Lena Grigorieva, a researcher from the university, emphasized the exceptional nature of the discovery, stating, “This is the first and only find of its kind—a complete bear carcass with preserved soft tissues. It is entirely intact, with all its internal organs in place, including even its nose. This find holds immense significance for the entire world.”
Preliminary analysis suggests that the adult bear lived between 22,000 and 39,500 years ago. To determine the precise age, further radiocarbon analysis will be conducted, as mentioned by researcher Maxim Cheprasov from the university.
The reindeer herders stumbled upon the bear carcass on Bolshoy Lyakhovsky Island, the largest among the Lyakhovsky Islands, which form part of the New Siberian Islands archipelago situated between the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea.
Separately, another preserved carcass of a cave bear cub has been discovered on the Russian mainland in Yakutia, offering scientists hope of obtaining its DNA.
In recent years, as the permafrost melts across vast areas in Russia’s Siberian region, numerous remarkable discoveries have come to light. These include mammoths, woolly rhinos, an Ice Age foal, several puppies, and cave lion cubs. These findings offer invaluable insights into the prehistoric world, providing glimpses into the past that were previously unimaginable.
The unveiling of this immaculately preserved Ice Age cave bear underscores the significance of ongoing research in these Arctic regions. As more discoveries continue to emerge from the melting permafrost, the opportunity to delve deeper into our planet’s ancient history grows, offering unprecedented knowledge about the Earth’s past and the incredible creatures that once roamed its landscapes.