Reindeer Herders Find ‘Completely Preserved’ Ice Age Cave Bear Remains In Russia

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Varun Hukeri General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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Reindeer herders in northeastern Russia discovered the preserved carcass of an Ice Age cave bear in a discovery that Russian scientists said was of “world importance” in a statement Monday.

Scientists at the North-Eastern Federal University (NEFU) in Yakutsk, Russia, said the preserved bear carcass was found on Bolshoy Lyakhovsky Island in the Lyakhovsky Islands archipelago. Local reindeer herders transferred the carcass to NEFU after its discovery, CNN reported.

The bear was preserved so completely that even its nose and teeth were intact, the statement said. The bear could be seen baring its teeth according to photographs released by the university.

“Today this is the first and only find of its kind — a whole bear carcass with soft tissues,” said NEFU scientist Lena Grigorieva. “It is completely preserved, with all internal organs in place including even its nose. Previously, only skulls and bones were found. This find is of great importance for the whole world.”

Maxim Cheprasov, a senior researcher from the Mammoth Museum laboratory in Yakutsk, added in a statement that radiocarbon analysis would be conducted to determine the exact age of the bear. But a preliminary analysis determined that the bear lived between 22,000 and 39,500 years ago, USA Today reported.

The team of scientists determined that the cave bear belonged to the Ursus spelaeus, a species of prehistoric bears that lived in Europe and Asia during the Pleistocene period and went extinct roughly 15,000 years ago, according to CNN.

Scientists have made a number of similar discoveries in the Siberia region in recent years as melting permafrost has exposed the remains of mammoths and prehistoric species of lions and rhinos, USA Today reported. (RELATED: Reindeer Herders Stumble Upon Partially Intact Woolly Mammoth Skeleton In Siberia)

A comprehensive study is being prepared to further examine the bear, according to the statement released by NEFU Monday. The research team said a number of research methods will be used, including molecular genetic, cellular and microbiological methods.