The enigmatic remains of a creature discovered within a bear lair along the freezing banks of a river within Yakutia, Russia, turned out to be that of a perfectly preserved lion, however, it is a species of a lion which died out over 50,000 years ago. Known as a cave lion, it had recently been released by ancient permafrost which is currently melting within the area …
The find has predictably attracted a lot of attention, and it seems a group of South Korean and Russian scientists believe it is so well preserved, it would make a great candidate for an attempted cloning programme. Like something straight out of Jurassic Park, they want to attempt to use its extremely well-preserved DNA, to re-create an entirely new branch of the species, based solely upon this one small cub, which died over 50 millennia ago. Quote, “The cave lion was a predatory animal, a coeval of woolly mammoths that lived in the Late Pleistocene, from 150,000 to 10,000 years ago, and became extinct at the end of the Late Pleistocene, about 10,000 years ago,” Valery Plotnikov, Ph.D. in the Study of Mammoth Fauna, Academy of Science, Sakha Republic, told Sputnik.com “The cave lion was slightly larger than the modern one, but it didn’t have a mane, and there was no tassel at the end of the tail, like the one modern African lions have,” the scientist said.
In the Late Pleistocene period, this beast had no rivals, bears, wolves, and other predators provided him with no significant competition. According to Plotnikov, the cave lions mostly fed on reindeer, noble deer, young mammoths, wild horses and muskoxen, and most likely led a solitary life. Dr. Albert Protopopov, head of the Department of the Study of Mammoth Fauna at the Academy, told The Siberian Times that the preservation of the lion cub remains, may allow for a future cloning attempt. However, according to Plotnikov, there are no plans to clone the cave lion just yet… Although they strongly believe the process of extracting the cave lion’s DNA, and then splicing it with the genomes of our modern day African lion, the closest modern relative of this extinct feline, would be a success.
What do you think regarding the cloning of extinct animals? Scientific breakthroughs? or Playing with God? Or maybe a Pandora’s box waiting to be opened? Let us know in the comments.