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Melting Permafrost Reveals Ice Age Bear With Fur Intact

'This is the first and only find of its kind'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2020 9:02 AM CDT

(Newser) – After more than 20,000 years, melting permafrost in Siberia has yielded the amazingly well-preserved body of an Ice Age cave bear. The bear, which still has intact fur and soft tissues including its nose, was found by reindeer hunters on the Bolshoy Lyakhovsky islands in the East Siberian Sea and donated to Northeastern Federal University in Yakutsk, the BBC reports. Researchers say the extinct bear species lived in the Arctic archipelago between 22,000 to 39,500 years ago. Until now, only skulls and bones had been found.

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"This is the first and only find of its kind—a whole bear carcass with soft tissues," researcher Lena Grigorieva said in a statement, per the AP. “It is completely preserved, with all internal organs in place, including even its nose,” Grigorieva said. “This find is of great importance for the whole world.” The melting of permafrost across huge areas of Siberia has yielded numerous other discoveries in recent years, including well-preserved mammoths, woolly rhinos, and, last year, an 18,000-year-old puppy. Since the area is very lightly populated, researchers believe that for every find like the puppy or the cave bear, another 10 or 20 rot away before they are discovered, Live Science reports. (Read more paleontology stories.)

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