A female puppy mummy may contain remnants of its mother’s breast milk. The researchers hope the discovery will help them understand the mother’s diet.
In Siberia researchers have found two well-preserved caves of cave lion cubs under melted permafrost. The species became extinct more than 13,000 years ago.
The cave lions have been similar in structure to modern lions, but larger and have grown a white winter coat for the winter. Among the millennia common to humans and cave lions on the planet are, among other things, cave paintings.
Researchers have named the female puppy Sparta and the male puppy Boris. The puppies were the same age at death, ie about one or two months old. They were also found close together, just 15 meters apart.
Researchers are still convinced that they did not belong to the same litter: the puppies found were born in completely different millennia. Boris was born about 43,000 years ago and Sparta much later, about 28,000 years ago.
Boriksen a mummy was found in 2017 and Sparta in 2018. Similar archaeological finds have been made repeatedly in Siberia in recent years.
The reason is in part climate change, which is melting permafrost.
In 2015, well-maintained caves of cave lion puppies were found in Siberian Yakutia.
The mummy of the female puppy, Sparta, found in 2018, is still completely unique, says one of the authors of the study, Valery Plotnikov, the news agency Reuters.
Sparta still has a turkey, viscera and skeleton. Scientists hope the well-preserved mummy would still contain remnants of Sparta’s mother’s breast milk as well.
“If we get it in our hands, we’ll be able to understand what the mother lion’s diet was like,” Plotnikov tells Reuters.