Scientists at a Russian university have announced the discovery of a remarkably well-preserved ice age cave bear, with much of its soft tissue including its nose, flesh and teeth intact.
In a statement, scientists from North-Eastern Federal University (NEFU) in Yakutsk say reindeer herders on Great Lyakhovsky island in the New Siberian Islands archipelago discovered the carcass in the melting permafrost. NEFU is considered the premier center for research into woolly mammoths and other prehistoric, ice age species.
Scientists at the research center have hailed the find as ground-breaking. Previously, scientists had only the bone of cave bears to study. The species, or subspecies, lived in Eurasia in the Middle and Late Pleistocene period and became extinct about 15,000 years ago.
Preliminary analysis suggests this specimen to be between 22,000 and 39,500 years old, but it will be carbon dated to confirm that.
Recent years have seen major discoveries of mammoths, woolly rhinos, ice age foal, several puppies and cave lion cubs as the permafrost inside the Arctic Circle melts.