A 39,000-year-old perfectly preserved cave bear and cub have been found in Siberia by Russian scientists.
The extraordinary find in mainland Yakutia is a world first as only cave bear bones have been discovered so far.
Scientists discovered two complete bear carcasses, including the adult bear bearing its teeth.
The adult was so well preserved by permafrost that even its nose is completely intact.
Scientist Dr. Lena Grigorieva told The Siberian Times: “Today this is the first and only find of its kind: a whole carcass of a soft-tissue bear.
“It has been completely preserved, with all internal organs in place.
Photos show the bear’s nose is intact.
“Only skulls and bones were found in the past.”
She added that the find “is of great importance to the whole world”.
Cave bears are a prehistoric species or subspecies that lived in Eurasia from about 300,000 to 15,000 years ago.
The remains will be analyzed by scientists from Russia’s Northeastern Federal University (NEFU) in Yakutsk – the coldest city in the world.
The facility is at the forefront of research on extinct woolly mammoths and rhinoceroses.
According to Dr. Grigorieva, who works at the University’s Institute of Applied Ecology of the North, foreign scientists will be invited to participate in the study.
The remains of the bears, believed to date from 22,000 to 39,500 years ago, were found by reindeer herders.
The finders agreed to have North-Eastern Federal University investigate the remains.
The scientists have promised to reveal more details about the cub found in thawing permafrost on Russia’s mainland in Yakutia.
Major discoveries of mammoths, woolly rhinoceroses and other extinct species have been made in recent years as the permafrost thaws in Siberia.