Two cave lion cubs were discovered completely preserved in the Siberian permafrost, dating back up to 44,000 years. Cloning them would be considerably easier than cloning the woolly mammoth, according to scientists, and that is exactly what they are preparing to do.
One of the pups starved to death, while the other may have been crushed by falling boulders, according to the experts involved in the finding. Both cubs may have been abandoned by their moms.
The cubs were considered to be male siblings who perished about 44,000 years ago when they were discovered in 2018.
However, according to the Siberian Times, the youngest cub was really a female who perished some 26,000 years ago. She is thus 18,000 years “younger” than Boris, the cub discovered next to her.
After the truth about her beginnings was known, the cave lion cub Spartak was renamed Sparta and died of starvation, most likely after being abandoned by her mother.
Sparta’s mother likely left her in the cave and went hunting, or she was murdered herself, leaving the little cub without sustenance, according to scientists.
“She died of starvation.” “We puzzled why she was so slender when she was discovered, and subsequently tomography of her internal organs revealed there was no fat,” said Dr. Albert Protopopov, a specialist on woolly mammoth frozen remains.
“It was the most severe case of malnutrition I’d ever seen.”
Sparta was discovered in Russia’s Yakutia area in 2018. The same mammoth bone hunter who uncovered a larger cave lion baby named Boris a year ago made the find.
Scientists first assumed the cubs were from the same family since they were only ten meters away, but it is now obvious that they are separated by 26,000 years.
Boris died around 44,000 years ago, when he was just two or three weeks old.
He, like Sparta, may have been abandoned by his mother within a cave and died by cave rock crumbling.
“We discovered obvious indications of inside injuries that we suspect were caused by a boulder falling on him,” Protopopov explained.
Boris’ tail has been severed. As a result, scientists speculated that he was an old lynx rather than a cave lion.
“We were all concerned about Boris’ absence of a tail,” Dr. Protopopov added.
“However, the man who discovered him revealed that it was severed when the cub was removed from the permafrost. I understand that it increased the possibility that the lion cub was a lynx, but we knew from the start that this was a cave lion cub.”
A pair of exceptionally well-preserved prehistoric cave lions has been discovered in Siberian permafrost.
“Restoring the look of the cave lion cubs is the most crucial objective of this intricate research,” Protopopov said.
“It’s still a mystery, because cave lions are represented without manes in hundreds of published pictures.” Despite this, we see patches and stripes of pigmentation in that location… which we don’t find in current lions. So we’re working on recreating the appearance of cave lions.”
“Their living conditions were significantly different from current lions in that cave lions dwell in a much colder climate and so had to appear different,” Protopopov continued.
“In a chilly environment, there was fewer prey.” We could obtain a picture of their social structure if we grasp this subject concerning mane – for example, we don’t know if they had prides with alpha males and multiple females like current lions.”
Cave lions, the area’s second-largest predator after bears, are still being studied by scientists.
However, because the region was savanna at the time, lions were more abundant, whereas bears preferred woodlands.
Using lion DNA and cloning procedures, the researchers want to bring comparable beasts back to life.
“Cave lion babies are very well preserved, with their whiskers visible, and we hope to learn a lot more from them.”
The scientists involved claimed, “There is a very realistic opportunity to replicate cave lions, and it would be a lot easier than cloning a woolly mammoth.”
“Cave and contemporary lions split barely 300,000 years ago, making them independent species within the same genus. It means that we can utilize DNA from present African lions to resurrect cave lions. It would be a lot less difficult than dealing with mammoths.”
“However, if we can find a way to reintroduce woolly mammoths, it will be a revolution and a payback for humanity who contributed to the extinction of so many species.”
However, not everyone agrees with that final assertion. Indeed, we may be on the verge of reviving long-extinct species, but this isn’t simply a technological issue; it’s also a moral one. Could it be that scientists are so focused on whether or not they can accomplish it that they fail to consider if they should?