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Russia uncovers 40,000 year-old wolf head, preserved in ice

The head was found on the banks of the Tirekhtyakh river, then it was sent to Science Academy of Yakutia, where it’s age was determined as approximately 40,000 years.

world Updated: Jun 14, 2019 19:09 IST
Reuters
Reuters
Moscow
Russia,Siberia,preserved in ice
Experts believe the wolf roamed the earth about 40,000 years ago, but thanks to Siberia's frozen permafrost its brain, fur, tissues and even its tongue have been perfectly preserved.(AP Photo)

About 40,000 years ago, a wolf died in what we know as Siberia. Now its severed head has been found, and because of the freezing conditions, it is so well preserved that its fur, teeth, brain and facial tissue are largely intact.

A Yakutia resident, Pavel Yefimov, found the head last summer on the banks of the Tirekhtyakh river, close to the Arctic Circle in the region of Yakutia, local media outlet the Siberian Times reported.

The head was handed over to the Science Academy of Yakutia. They sent samples and measurement data abroad and with help from colleagues in Japan and Sweden determined its age as approximately 40,000 years, the Siberian Times reported.

The head was shown in public this week in footage provided to Reuters TV by the academy. It shows the head of an animal, visibly bigger than that of a modern wolf, covered with fur and with teeth visible. Its eyes are missing.

The next step in the wolf’s journey is to undergo a procedure called plastination, a technique of replacing water and fat with plastics. That prevents decay and preserves tissue for scientific purposes.

“This is a fixation by chemical means, so that the fur would not come off and so that we could keep it (the head) unfrozen,” Valery Plotnikov, one of academy scientists, said in the footage. ]

First Published: Jun 14, 2019 11:38 IST