Insane Footage Shows 28,000-Year-Old Lion Cub Found In Permafrost

by : Charlie Cocksedge on : 14 Aug 2021 12:43
Insane Footage Shows 28,000-Year-Old Lion Cub Found In PermafrostThe Siberian Times/YouTube

Incredible images have been shared of a 28,000-year-old lion cub found preserved in the Siberian permafrost.

The female cub has been named Sparta, and scientists believe the cub may even have traces of its mother’s milk still in its system.


Sparta was found at the Semyuelyakh River in Russia’s Yakutia region in 2018, after another cub, Boris, was found a year earlier. Despite being found just 15 metres away from each other, Boris and Sparta are from different litters and were born thousands of years apart, Boris is believed to have lived around 43,448 years ago.

According to study author Valery Plotnikov, Sparta was so well preserved the cub still had its fur, internal organs and skeleton, The Guardian reports.

Sparta and Boris were found by mammoth tusk collectors. Cave lions such as these cubs have been extinct for thousands of years, but this recent discovery has revealed new information about the mysterious creatures.


‘The find itself is unique; there was no any other such find in Yakutia,’ Plotnikov said. ‘Maybe, we hope, some disintegrated parts of the mother’s milk [remain intact]. Because if we have that, we can understand what its mother’s diet was.’

The Centre for Paleogenetics in Stockholm believes Sparta the cub is ‘arguably the best preserved Ice Age animal ever found’, Siberian Times reports.

Differences between these lion cubs and the lion cubs we recognise today include teeth, head and body size, suggesting their development was quicker as they had to grow to be able to eat meat earlier, to survive the short summers and harsh winters in the region.


These cubs also have much thicker fur to help them adapt to the cold climate. Yakutia, where the cubs were found, is the coldest permanently inhabited region in the world.

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Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist and sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.

Topics: Animals, Lion, Now, siberia


The Guardian and 1 other
  1. The Guardian

    Well-preserved 28,000-year-old lion cub found in Siberian permafrost

  2. Siberian Times

    Meet Sparta, the ‘best preserved ice age animal ever found’