A 40,000-year-old detached wolf head - with its brain intact - has been found in Siberia by scientists.

The snarling wolf head measuring 40cm long - about half of the full body length of a modern wolf - was discovered preserved in permafrost in North Yakutia, Siberia.

The wolf, brain in tact, dates from more than 40,000 years ago. Photo / Albert Protopovov.
The wolf, brain in tact, dates from more than 40,000 years ago. Photo / Albert Protopovov.

The prehistoric remains were found by a local man named Pavel Efimov in the summer of 2018, between June and August, in a remote area near a river - but the find has only just been revealed.

The 40,000-year-old wolf - dated by Japanese scientists - was fully grown at two to four years old when it died, and it still has its thick mammoth fur and extraordinary fangs intact, reports The Siberian Times.

Advertisement
The animal's teeth incredibly remain in tact, Photo / NAO Foundation / Naoki Suzuki.
The animal's teeth incredibly remain in tact, Photo / NAO Foundation / Naoki Suzuki.

The reason for the wolf's head being detached is unknown, although scientists said it is unlikely to have been a trophy of a hunter as mankind only arrived in this part of northern Russia around 32,500 years ago.

"This is a unique discovery of the first-ever remains of a fully grown Pleistocene wolf with its tissue preserved," said Russian scientist Dr Albert Protopopov.

"We will be comparing it to modern-day wolves to understand how the species has evolved and to reconstruct its appearance."

The DNA examination will take place at the Swedish Museum of Natural History and the discovery was announced in Tokyo, Japan, at the Woolly Mammoth exhibition.

Alongside the wolf head, scientists also presented a well-preserved cave lion cub named Spartak, which was found around the same time.

"Their muscles, organs and brains are in good condition," said professor of paleontology and medicine Naoki Suzuki, who studied the remains with a CT scanner.

"We want to assess their physical capabilities and ecology by comparing them with the lions and wolves of today."

The discovery was announced in Tokyo during the grandiose Woolly Mammoth exhibition. Photo / NAO Foundation / Naoki Suzuki.
The discovery was announced in Tokyo during the grandiose Woolly Mammoth exhibition. Photo / NAO Foundation / Naoki Suzuki.