Swedish researchers are calling it “Probably the best-preserved Ice Age animal ever uncovered.”
Meet Sparta, a 28 thousand-year-old cave lion cub uncovered in the Siberian Permafrost. According to a study published by the Quaternary, Sparta is so well preserved that her teeth, organs, and whiskers remain intact.
Sparta is the 4th cave lion cub discovered in the Yakutia permafrost.
The permanently frozen ground, or permafrost for short, can preserve animals like the cave lion thousands and thousands of years after they went extinct.
Resident Boris Berezhnev found Sparta in 2018 while out looking for mammoth tusks, according to the Siberian Times.
More and more ancient animal remains are being uncovered as climate change continues to melt the permafrost.
Residents in Siberia have unearthed brown bears, horses, reindeer, wolves, bison, and wooly rhinos dating back 40,000 years, from the last few years alone.
The mummified frozen carcass of Sparta looks remarkably similar to that of a modern lion.
A well-preserved cave lion cub found in Siberia's permafrost is 28,000 years old, according to researchers. The Siberian Simba, nicknamed Sparta, was one of two baby cave lions found in 2017 and 2018 by mammoth tusk hunters. https://t.co/gCw5WB4P0N pic.twitter.com/j7lEXpW2Vd— CNN (@CNN) August 6, 2021
The distinct difference is that cave lions are glaringly missing manes, an iconic feature of African lions.
Researchers say Sparta’s yellowish-brown fur would probably turn light gray to camouflage them in the Siberian arctic.