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Perfectly preserved Ice Age cave bear found in Arctic Russia – Los Angeles Times

Reindeer herders in a Russian Arctic archipelago have found an immaculately preserved carcass of an Ice Age cave bear, researchers said Monday.

The find — revealed as permafrost melts across vast areas of Siberia — was discovered on the Lyakhovsky Islands with its teeth and even its nose intact. Previously, scientists only had been able to discover the bones of cave bears that became extinct 15,000 years ago.

Scientists of the North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk, the premier center for research into woolly mammoths and other prehistoric species, hailed the find as groundbreaking.

In a statement issued by the university, researcher Lena Grigorieva emphasized that “this is the first and only find of its kind — a whole bear carcass with soft tissues.”

He added, “It is completely preserved, with all internal organs in place, including even its nose. This find is of great importance for the whole world.”

A preliminary analysis indicated that the adult bear lived 22,000 to 39,500 years ago.

“It is necessary to carry out radiocarbon analysis to determine the precise age of the bear,” the university quoted researcher Maxim Cheprasov as saying.

The bear carcass was found by reindeer herders on Bolshoy Lyakhovsky Island. It is the largest of the Lyakhovsky Islands, which are part of the New Siberian Islands archipelago that lies between the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea.

At about the same time, a well-preserved carcass of a cave bear cub was also found in another area in Yakutia’s mainland, the university said. It didn’t describe its condition in detail but noted that scientists were hopeful of obtaining its DNA.

Recent years have seen major discoveries of mammoths, woolly rhinos, Ice Age foals, several puppies and cave lion cubs as the permafrost melts.

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perfectly preserved

A perfectly preserved Ice Age cave bear has been found in Russia — even its nose is intact – CNN

(CNN)The perfectly preserved remains of an Ice Age cave bear have been discovered in the Russian Arctic — the first example of the species ever to be found with soft tissues intact.

The astonishing find was made by reindeer herders on the Lyakhovsky Islands, which are part of the New Siberian islands archipelago in Russia’s Far North.
Prior to this, only the bones of cave bears had been unearthed, but this specimen even had its nose intact, according to a team of scientists from the North-Eastern Federal University (NEFU) in Yakutsk, Siberia.
The discovery is of “world importance,” a leading Russian expert on extinct Ice Age species said.
In a statement released by the university, scientist Lena Grigorieva said: “Today this is the first and only find of its kind — a whole bear carcass with soft tissues. It is completely preserved, with all internal organs in place including even its nose.
“Previously, only skulls and bones were found. This find is of great importance for the whole world.”
The adult animal was found by a group of reindeer herders, who then transferred the right to research the specimen to the NEFU, which is at the forefront of research into extinct woolly mammoths and rhinos.
According to the team, the cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) is a prehistoric species or sub-species that lived in Eurasia in the Middle and Late Pleistocene period and became extinct some 15,000 years ago. Preliminary analysis suggests the bear is between 22,000 and 39,500 years old.
Maxim Cheprasov, senior researcher from the Mammoth Museum laboratory in Yakutsk, said in the statement: “It is necessary to carry out radiocarbon analysis to determine the precise age of the bear.”
Scientists have not yet been able to visit the site of the discovery — the ancient carcass was found a long way from Yakutsk, which itself is more than 5,000 miles from Moscow.
Significant discoveries, including mammoths, woolly rhinos, Ice Age foal, several puppies and cave lion cubs, have been made in Siberia in recent years as the permafrost melts.

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