HomeOutdoorsNewsScientists Find ‘Perfectly Preserved’ 9,000-Year-Old Bison in Siberia

Scientists Find ‘Perfectly Preserved’ 9,000-Year-Old Bison in Siberia

by Brett Stayton
Steppe Bison Specimen In French Museum
Photo by Jean-Marc Zaorski/Getty Images

It’s amazing what can be found frozen in the Siberian permafrost. An approximately 9,000-year-old bison was previously found frozen and preserved in the Russian wilderness. The animal is a steppe bison, a species that is now extinct. According to Oh My Mag, Steppe bison roamed the entire European continent from about 2 million years ago up until about 9,000 years ago. The extinct species of bison was much taller and more massive than a typical modern bison. Their horns were also much longer and pointed upwards.

The specimen has been coined the “Yukagir bison” because that’s near the location where it was discovered trapped in the snow and ice of the Siberian plains. The bison is almost perfectly mummified. It’s the most complete specimen of the species ever found.

Mummified Bison An Important Resource For Scientists

The bison specimen was in such good condition that researchers were even able to determine its cause of death. They deduced that given the lack of fat around its abdomen, the animal likely died of starvation.

“The Yukagir bison mummy is the third of four complete mummies of this species discovered in the world, and one of two adult specimens preserved with their internal organs and stored under freezing conditions” explained Dr. Natalia Serduk with the Russian Academy of Sciences. Evengy Mashenko, a researcher with the Moscow Institute of Palaeontology followed up. “The exclusively good preservation of the Yukagir bison mummy allows direct anatomical comparisons with modern species of bison and cattle, as well as with extinct species of bison that became extinct at the boundary between the Pleistocene and the Holocene.

28,000 Year Old Cave Lion Specimen Discovered Frozen In Ice

The steppe bison isn’t the only frozen animal from Russia to make headlines lately though. A cave lion cub that researchers aged to be roughly 28,000 years old is one of the best-preserved animals from the Ice Age ever uncovered. Because it was frozen in the ice, the cub’s teeth, skin, organs, and tissues all remain intact and in re-searchable condition.

This particular cave lion is one of several specimens that have turned up buried in permafrost in the northeast corner of Russia. Boris Brezhnev, who found the lion, was scouring the tundra for ancient mammoth tusks when he stumbled across the lion. It’s actually not the first cave lion he has discovered while tusk hunting. He previously discovered an even more deteriorated specimen. That discovery is believed to be as much as 15,000 years older than the most recent specimen he uncovered.

The frozen wilderness of Russia has turned up even more frozen species than bison and lions too. Cave lions aren’t the only species that are being unearthed in the Siberian permafrost though. With climate change causing the region to heat up, the frost is weakening. Ancient ivory tusks from wooly mammoths are the main draw for amateur archaeologists in the region. However, remnants from wooly rhinos, wolves, brown bears, reindeer, and bison have all been discovered in recent years. Some of these specimens have been dated to be as much as 40,000 years old.