Ice Age Cave Lion cub brings cloning hope

A preserved Cave Lion cub from the Ice Age has been discovered in Siberia.

The specimen, which scientists believe to be approximately a year old, gives new hope to cloning programmes in Korea and Russia, who are determined to resurrect the species.

Cave Lions, also known as Steppe Lions, have been extinct for around 10,000 years at this point, but died out during the last ice age.

Two cubs were previously discovered in 2015, but scientists already to believe this new specimen to be in better condition.

Sarah Gibbens, writing for National Geographic, cites a report from the Russian Media on the discovery.

According to Interfax, Russia’s main independent newswire, the new cub—who has yet to be named—has been given to the country’s Republic Academy of Sciences. Albert Protopopov, the same paleontologist who studied Uyan and Dina, will examine the new cub.

After Uyan and Dina underwent testing, Protopopov told National Geographic that they most likely died when their den collapsed over them, trapping them under soil. It’s unclear how this newly discovered cat perished, but Protopopov told local outlets that its remains appear to be in even better condition.”

There has yet to be any official comment from the scientists involved in the study, but a video of the unveiling has been made available online. The video shows the compacted, but surprisingly well preserved cub with its head still resting on its paw. Only further analysis will ascertain whether it will be possible to extract enough suitable DNA from the specimen to create a living version.