Wednesday 19 June 2019

Scientists probe wolf head discovered after 40,000 years

 

Russian and Japanese scientists hope that the find will help them learn more about an ancient predator that roamed Europe and Asia (stock photo)
Russian and Japanese scientists hope that the find will help them learn more about an ancient predator that roamed Europe and Asia (stock photo)

Alec Luhn

The first intact adult head of an Ice Age wolf found preserved in permafrost for 40,000 years is being analysed by scientists.

Still covered in thick fur and sporting a vicious-looking set of fangs, the 15in head was found on the Tirekhtyakh river by locals hunting for mammoth tusks in the remote Siberian region of Yakutia last year.

Now, Russian and Japanese scientists hope that the find will help them learn more about an ancient predator that roamed Europe and Asia.

"We want to answer the question of whether these wolves disappeared or turned into modern wolves," said Albert Protopopov, head of mammoth fauna studies at the Yakutia Academy of Sciences.

The soil in most of Yakutia remains frozen all year round, preventing ancient tusks and carcasses from decomposing. Specimens have been emerging ever more frequently as climate change gradually thaws the permafrost.

Irish Independent

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