44,000-year-old wolf discovered in Siberian permafrost

44,000-year-old wolf discovered in Siberian permafrost

An extraordinary event, as much as it was random, brought to light a perfectly preserved wolf carcass dating back 44,000 years. The unique find was discovered in 2021 along the Terkhtyakh River in the Siberian region of Yakutia by locals. After extensive research conducted at the Mammoth Museum Laboratory of the North-Eastern Federal University, scientists are finally able to tell us more.

Because the discovery of the wolf is unique.

mummified wolf, Found at a depth of 40 metersIt represents an unprecedented discovery for several reasons. First, it is the first intact specimen of an adult predator ever found. Late Ice Age, Geological period dating back to the last Ice Age. The body was found in very good condition, with internal organs, soft tissues and the stomach still intact. Rare level of preservation They are of great value to paleontologists, as they allow the biology and ecology of extinct animals to be studied in detail.

“Our main goal is to understand what this wolf feeds on, who it is and how it is related to ancient wolves that inhabited the northeastern part of Eurasia, especially Yakutia.” Artem NedolozkoScientific Director of the Laboratory of Paleontology at the European University in St. Petersburg.

Permafrost, the permanently frozen ground in Arctic regions, acts like a time capsule, perfectly preserving the remains of ancient organisms and their DNA. In this case, the wolf was frozen in an environment that prevents decomposition and contamination, keeping the biological samples intact. Scientists performed a complete autopsy on the body. From the animal, DNA samples were taken to compare the fossil wolf genome with the genome of modern wolves. A comparison that could reveal valuable information. On the evolution of dogs and the migration of wolves During the late Ice Age.

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Moreover, the discovery of this wolf adds an important piece to the genetic studies that scientists began more than thirty years ago to reconstruct the evolutionary history of the wolf in Europe, Asia and North America.

Viruses and bacteria in the intestine: why they will be analyzed

One of the most fascinating and promising aspects of this discovery concerns the Wolf’s stomachIt remained sealed and uncontaminated for 44,000 years. Inside the organ, scientists hope to find traces of the animal’s final meal, as well as a rich collection of ancient microorganisms, including viruses and bacteria. These microorganisms They are a single window. On gut microorganisms in the late Pleistocene, they can provide important information about predator-prey interactions, as well as about diseases that affected animals during that period.

Scientists They are sequencing the DNA of microorganisms. Found in the wolf’s stomach to identify unknown species and understand their ecological functions.

Second, studying ancient microbes could have practical applications in medicine and biotechnology. Some ancient bacteria may have unique properties that make them Useful for developing new drugs or treatments..

Ultimately, this interdisciplinary research helps predict how microbial communities and diseases will evolve in response to climate and environmental changes. Permafrost is thawing due to global warming, releasing ancient pathogens that could pose new threats to modern wildlife. Understanding the microbial past prepares us for the future. To better meet the challenges of the future, making the discovery of this wolf not just a scientific curiosity, but a key piece of the puzzle of evolutionary history and global health.

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A piece that may one day be added to the woolly mammoth, an extinct giant that scientists have been studying for years and want to try to bring back to life for him. Restoring ancient ecosystems.

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