The Ice Age worked a lot like a time capsule as it preserved various indigenous animals that have long been extinct from this world. Beasts as large as woolly mammoths and some as small as insects have been discovered encapsulated in iced, but the most recent discovery marks the first time the world has seen an Ice Age wolf.
In 2018, Pavel Efimov stumbled across a 40,000-year-old Ice Age wolf head in Siberia that looked like it had been severed from its body at some point. The Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Sakha verified its authenticity with the help of Albert Protopopov who heads the department.
He told CNN that there have been instances of wolf cubs found from the Ice Age, but an adult wolf from that time period is unheard of.
“Several puppies have already been found,” Protopopov he explained. “This is the first time the head of an ancient wolf has been found whose soft tissue has been preserved after 40,000 years, a grown wolf,” he said.
What makes the discovery even more awe-inspiring is how well preserved the head is. According to IFLScience, the decapitated head still has a large portion of fur, fangs, and even its brain.
Researchers are puzzled by the fact that the head was severed from its body. Originally, the hypothesis was raised that perhaps it was a trophy from an early hunt, but researchers quickly ruled that out as there were no recorded humans in that area during that time period.
The preserved wolf head, which is 25 percent larger than a current wolf’s head, is estimated to have belonged to a wolf between two and four years old. Japanese and Sweedish researchers have been combing over the wolf’s DNA to further understand the prehistoric beast.
“We will be comparing it to modern-day wolves to understand how the species has evolved and to reconstruct its appearance.” The current day grey wolf is believed to have evolved from this ancient beast. Now if researchers could only find a dire wolf GOT fans would be ecstatic.