The severed head of a 40,000-year-old wolf still snarling has been found in the Siberian permafrost- indicating the huge animals once walked the face of the earth.
The head of a wolf – measuring 40cm long, about half the full length of a modern wolf – was found preserved in permafrost in the Yakutia region in Siberia.
Scientists believe the prehistoric remains, found with the brain "intact", date more than 40,000 years ago, reports The Siberian Times.
The predator is thought to have a thick "mammoth-like" coat and fangs larger than wolves in Siberia today.
The discovery was made above the Arctic Circle by local man Pavel Efimov in summer 2018 near the Tirekhtyakh River.
The reason the the wolf's head is severed is not known. But scientists say it is unlikely to have been the trophy of a hunter since early man only started to arrive in this part of northern Russia around 32,500 years ago.
Russian scientist Dr Albert Protopopov said: “This is a unique discovery of the first-ever remains of a fully grown Pleistocene wolf with its tissue preserved.
“We will be comparing it to modern-day wolves to understand how the species has evolved and to reconstruct its appearance.”
Scientists at the Swedish Museum of Natural History will examine the predator’s DNA.
The discovery has only recently been announced in Tokyo at an exhibition of remains of frozen beasts.
The exhibition also features the remains of mammoths and a cave lion cub named Spartak, which was found around the same time as the wolf's head.
Naoki Suzuki, a professor at Jikei University School of Medicine in Tokyo who made CT scans of the ancient remains said: “Their muscles, organs and brains are in good condition.
“We want to assess their physical capabilities and ecology by comparing them with the lions and wolves of today.”
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