Scientists have unveiled the severed head of a huge Ice Age wolf baring its teeth, which dates back more than 40,000 years.
The snarling beast with its brain intact was found preserved in permafrost in the Yakutia region on Siberia.
The head is almost 16 inches long, nearly twice the size of the head of its modern-day descendant, the Gray wolf, at 9.1-11 inches.
It was discovered above the Arctic Circle by local man Pavel Efimov in summer 2018 near the remote Tirekhtyakh River but the find was only now revealed.
The reason the wolf’s head was severed is not known, but it’s unlikely to have been the trophy of an ancient hunter since early man only started to arrive in this part of northern Russia around 32,500 years ago, it is believed.
Russian scientist Dr Albert Protopopov said: ‘This is a unique discovery of the first-ever remains of a fully grown Pleistocene wolf with its tissue preserved.
‘We will be comparing it to modern-day wolves to understand how the species has evolved and to reconstruct its appearance.’
The predator with a thick ‘mammoth-like’ coat and impressive fangs seems to have been larger than today’s Siberian wolves.
Scientists at the Swedish Museum of Natural History will examine the Pleistocene predator’s DNA, reported The Siberian Times.
The discovery of the wolf was announced in Tokyo at an exhibition of remains of frozen beasts including woolly mammoths.
The wolf was found around the same time as a previously announced cave lion cub named Spartak and the Ice Age remains are displayed together.
‘Their muscles, organs and brains are in good condition,’ said Naoki Suzuki, a professor of palaeontology and medicine with the Jikei University School of Medicine in Tokyo, who made CT scans of the ancient remains.
‘We want to assess their physical capabilities and ecology by comparing them with the lions and wolves of today.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Will Stewart