Russian Scientists Uncover 44000 Year Old Wolf Carcass in Permafrost

Russian scientists are currently performing an autopsy on a wolf that has been preserved in permafrost for approximately 44,000 years. This extraordinary find is the first of its kind and offers a unique glimpse into the Pleistocene era. The wolf’s carcass was discovered by residents in the far northeastern region of Yakutia’s Abyysky district in 2021, but it is only now being properly examined by scientists.

Albert Protopopov, head of the department for the study of mammoth fauna at the Yakutia Academy of Sciences, stated, “This is the world’s first discovery of a late Pleistocene predator. Its age is about 44,000 years, and there have never been such finds before.” Yakutia, a vast region covered in swamps and forests, is about 95 percent permafrost and experiences extreme winter temperatures as low as minus 64 degrees Celsius (-83.2 degrees Fahrenheit).

Typically, the carcasses of herbivorous animals are found preserved in permafrost, as they often get stuck in swamps and freeze. However, this discovery marks the first time a large carnivore has been found. Protopopov explained, “It was a very active predator, one of the larger ones. Slightly smaller than cave lions and bears, but a very active, mobile predator, and it was also a scavenger.”

The wolf’s remains are particularly special because they provide rare insights into the Yakutia of 44,000 years ago. Artyom Nedoluzhko, development director of the paleogenetics laboratory at the European University at Saint Petersburg, emphasized the significance of the find. “This discovery offers a rare insight into the Pleistocene era, helping us understand the ecosystem and the predators that roamed Yakutia thousands of years ago.”

As climate change causes permafrost to slowly melt, it is not uncommon to find millennia-old animal carcasses buried deep within. However, this wolf represents a groundbreaking discovery in paleontology, shedding light on the life of ancient predators and the environment they inhabited.