A PAIR of frozen lion cubs from the Ice Age — complete with skin and fur — have been found in Siberia.
It’s the first time remains of the ancient predator have been found in such good condition and the discovery has been met with enormous excitement.
The frozen cubs are almost perfectly intact and their tiny stomachs may hold a substance never before examined by scientists: mother’s milk. They are believed to be at least 10,000 years old.
The Siberian Times announced the incredible find earlier this week but its report was not immediately picked up by international media due to initial fears it was a hoax (it couldn’t have helped that it was National Cat Day yesterday).
“As far as I know, there has never been a prehistoric cat found with this level of preservation so this is just an extraordinary find,” Des Moines University fossil felid expert Julie Meachen told National Geographic.
“I was a little in disbelief when I first saw it, but when it looked to be true I was just in awe.”
Cave lions are close relatives of the modern Afro-Asiatic lion. They lived during Middle and Late Pleistocene times from the British Isles to Chukotka in the extreme east of Russia and also roamed Alaska and northwestern Canada.
Remains of the cats have been found from what was known as Eurasia to North America from the 1800s but until now were limited to fossils, bones and tracks.
The cubs were found in the coldest part of the Russian Federation, the Sakha Republic, also known as Yakutia. The region has proven a goldmine for palaeontologists; it was here that they unearthed Yuka, the woolly mammoth, the carcass of a woolly rhinoceros and Yukagir bison and horses — all highly preserved in permafrost.
Russian scientists will hold a press conference on what they have learned from the two cub corpses on November 17 and are expected to be quizzed on the possibility of cloning the creatures.
The cave lions were almost perfectly preserved in permafrost and could be much older. Picture: Academy of Sciences of Yakutia
The Bible gives us the big picture of human history—as well as some critical details—which helps us narrow down when the ice built up and then melted away. After two centuries of research, we now have enough information to begin recreating scenes from the rise and fall of the Ice Age.
Two particular aspects of the Flood were instrumental in causing the Ice Age: (1) extensive volcanic activity during and after the Flood, and (2) the warm oceans following the Flood. We know the extent of the Ice Age because the glaciers left features on the landscape similar to features we observe around glaciers today.
Woolly mammoths probably died after the Flood because there are thousands of carcasses scattered across Alaska and Siberia resting above Flood deposits. There must have been sufficient time for the mammoths to have repopulated these regions after the Flood. The post-Flood Ice Age provides an explanation for the mystery of the woolly mammoths.
As people groups spread out across Asia and into Africa and Europe, a population traversed a landbridge connecting Siberia to North America (a landbridge since submerged in the Bering Strait). From there, the group populated the continent and diversified both genetically and culturally.