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55,000 Year Old Siberian Cave Lion Found Intact, Could Be Cloned

55,000 Year Old Siberian Cave Lion Found Intact, Could Be Cloned
Image by Mauricio Antón

Many pre-historic carcasses have been resurrected in Siberia, but it seems none so pristine as the body of a Siberian cave lion unearthed in permafrost recently along the Tirekhtykh River bank, in the Abyisky district of Yakutia, by a local resident. Scientists estimate the body of the animal to be approximately 55,000 years old.

Two other younger cubs were found recently as well in the region, but not in as good condition. The cub was around 2 months old when it died. Its head was found resting on its paw, reported The Siberian Times.

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Expert Dr Albert Protopopov said: ‘It is a perfectly preserved lion cub, all the limbs have survived. There are no traces of external injuries on the skin,’ wrote The Siberian Times.

The tissue is in such good condition that scientists have now raised the very real possibility of cloning the animal. The DNA and molecular structure is very likely preserved enough to carry out such an experiment. Experts are split on the desirability of performing such a procedure. Environmentalists demand humans bring back animals where there is a high chance that human activity was the cause of extinction. The opposite view would prevent such an action, declaring that nature herself caused the extinction and it is not in the realm of wise human activity to bring back a species where the natural habitat has long disappeared.

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To see images of the animal, click here.

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