As permafrost melts, it occasionally reveals Ice Age treasures like this enormous head of a Pleistocene wolf in northern Siberia. It was discovered by a local last summer and has spent the past year being extensively studied by excited researchers. The fur, large teeth, and internal soft tissues are remarkably well-preserved.

The head is astonishing in scale, especially compared to modern wolves. It’s 15.7 inches long, nearly a full six inches longer than the average wolf today. That means the head of this ancient predator is half the length of a modern wolf’s body.

“This is a unique discovery of the first-ever remains of a fully grown Pleistocene wolf with its tissue preserved. We will be comparing it to modern-day wolves to understand how the species has evolved and to reconstruct its appearance,” Albert Protopopov, of the Republic of Sakha Academy of Sciences, told the Siberian Times.


Researchers don’t think it’s a dire wolf, despite the huge size, as those wolves weren’t thought to venture so far north. But until the DNA is sequenced, nobody really knows for sure.

Note: Initial reports have called the wolf 40,000 years old, but subsequent reports have corrected that figure to 30,000 years old. Photo, top: Albert Protopopov.

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