Two 12,000-year-old lion cubs have been found so well preserved that their ‘whiskers are still bristling’, whatever the fuck that means.
The pair were found inside permafrost, and are believed to be the most well preserved remains of the species ever discovered.
The have been called Uyan and Dina in honour of the Uyandina River, beneath which they were found in Siberia.
Head of the mammoth fauna studies department of the Yakutian Academy of Sciences, Dr Albert Protopopov, has labelled the find as ‘sensational’, largely due to the cubs remaining completely intact.
He said the cubs “are complete with all their body parts: fur, ears, soft tissue and even whiskers”, and incredibly this means cloning could be possible in the future. At this stage though Protopopov said it was ‘very premature’ to consider this option.
Protopopov said to the Siberian Times:
Possibly, the cubs died in a hole, in a landslide, and afterwards this site was never affected by weather. This is how we explain such unique preservation of the animals.”
Based on their size, likened to a plump domestic cat, it has been estimated the cubs were just weeks old when they perished, which is also supported by their eyes barely being open, and the presence of just some baby teeth.
The cubs were presented to the media inside a permafrost cave, their first appearance since Pleistocene times.
They are an incredible find for scientists to research, although one of them does resemble more of a rock than a cave lion.