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3 frozen cave lion cubs discovered in Siberia since 2015: researchers

The extinct Eurasian cave lion "Uyan" discovered in 2015 with its eyes, nose and mouth preserved. (Photo courtesy of Naoki Suzuki)

The remains of three frozen Eurasian cave lions have been discovered in the permafrost in Russia's Sakha Republic in the northeast of Siberia since 2015, a Japanese and Russian research team announced on Nov. 15.

    Two of the lions discovered in 2015 by the team including researchers from the Russian Academy of Sciences and Jikei University were found to be newborn siblings from their physical characteristics and other information. The Eurasian cave lion is thought to have lived across Siberia and Europe, getting its name from making its home in caves. The primitive lion ancestor became extinct roughly 10,000 years ago.

    The third lion found in September of this year has a body length of 47.5 centimeters and weighed 4.6 kilograms, and was named "Boris" after the name of the farmer who discovered the cub. The facial features, legs and the black markings on its coat were all almost completely intact. It is unclear when the lion died.

    The other two lions found in 2015 appear to be less than one month old, and were named after rivers close to where they were discovered, "Uyan" and "Dina." Of the two, Uyan was the most well-preserved, weighing roughly 2.8 kilograms with a body length of 41 centimeters. The siblings were found to be from approximately 50,000 years ago. The sex of all three of the animals is unknown.

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