Scientists from South Korea and Russia want to clone an extinct cave lion using DNA from the frozen remains of ice age cubs.
The two 12,000-year-old lion cubs were found almost perfectly preserved in Russia’s Sakha Republic thanks to the permanently low temperatures.
The perfectly preserved cubs were found in a cave in Russia (AP)
Researchers hope to find living tissue in the prehistoric cubs, with DNA that could be used to recreate the extinct big cat.
One cub will be used for the cloning plan, while the other will be kept as part of the Mammoth Museum’s collection.
Researcher Yakov Androsov (right) and his assistant show the body of a cave lion during a presentation (AP)
The project is a collaboration between South Korean and Russian scientists at the Joint Foundation of Molecular Palaeontology, at North East Russia University in the city of Yakutsk.
It is hoped that DNA can be extracted from the frozen cub remains (The Verge)
Described by the scientists are a ‘sensational find’, the near-perfect preservation of the unfortunate lion cubs could lead to the controversial possibility of bringing an extinct species back from the dead.
Researchers are planning to return to the cave where the cubs were found to look for other big cats that may have also been preserved.
One of the scientists from the project is also working on cloning the extinct wooly mammoth using the same process.
Image credit: The Verge