. Russian Scientists Perform Historic Autopsy on 44,000-Year-Old Wolf Found in Permafrost

Russian Scientists Perform Historic Autopsy on 44,000-Year-Old Wolf Found in Permafrost

By -

Russian Scientists Perform Historic Autopsy on 44,000-Year-Old Wolf Found in Permafrost


In a groundbreaking discovery, Russian scientists have unearthed and are now examining a wolf carcass that has been preserved in permafrost, is an approximately 44,000 years old. This extraordinary find offers a unique glimpse into the late Pleistocene era and is the first of its kind. In this article, we delve into the significance of this discovery, the autopsy process, and what permafrost is, to understand discovery and how this ancient predator has been so well-preserved.

The Discovery

In 2021, residents of the Abyysky district in Yakutia, a remote region in Russia's far northeast, stumbled upon the frozen remains of a wolf. This chance discovery has since captured the attention of scientists worldwide. The wolf's carcass, now being carefully examined by Russian scientists, is a significant find due to its exceptional state of preservation.

Significance of the Autopsy

Albert Protopopov, head of the department for the study of mammoth fauna at the Yakutia Academy of Sciences, emphasized the importance of this discovery. "This is the world’s first discovery of a late Pleistocene predator," Protopopov stated. He noted that, unlike herbivores that are more commonly found in permafrost, finding a large carnivore in such a condition is unprecedented. The autopsy of this wolf is expected to provide valuable insights into the fauna of the late Pleistocene period, shedding light on its diet, behavior, and ecological interactions.

What is Permafrost?

Permafrost refers to ground, including rock or soil, that has been frozen for at least two consecutive years. In regions like Yakutia, permafrost can extend hundreds of meters below the surface. This frozen layer acts as a time capsule, preserving organic material such as plants, animals, and even microorganisms, in a remarkably intact state.

The Role of Permafrost in Preservation

Permafrost plays a crucial role in preserving ancient remains. The wolf's carcass, encased in ice for millennia, has been shielded from decay and environmental factors. Yakutia, with its vast swathes of permafrost, has yielded numerous well-preserved specimens, but the discovery of a predator like this wolf is a first. The region's extreme cold, with winter temperatures plummeting to as low as minus 64 degrees Celsius (-83.2 degrees Fahrenheit), has been instrumental in maintaining the integrity of these ancient remains.

Insights from the Autopsy

Artyom Nedoluzhko, development director of the paleogenetics laboratory at the European University at Saint Petersburg, highlighted the potential knowledge to be gained from studying this ancient wolf. The autopsy aims to uncover details about the wolf’s diet, genetic makeup, and its relationship to other ancient wolves that roamed northeastern Eurasia. This research could provide a clearer picture of the ecosystem 44,000 years ago and the role this predator played within it.


The autopsy of the 44,000-year-old wolf frozen in the permafrost of Yakutia is a landmark event in the field of paleontology. Russian scientists are poised to glean unprecedented insights into the life and environment of the late Pleistocene era. This discovery not only underscores the importance of permafrost in preserving ancient life but also opens new avenues for understanding the history of our planet's fauna.


What is permafrost? Permafrost is ground that remains frozen for at least two consecutive years, often found in polar regions. It preserves organic material, such as plants and animals, in a remarkably intact state.

Why is the discovery of the wolf significant? The wolf is the first well-preserved late Pleistocene predator discovered in permafrost. Its autopsy provides unique insights into the ecosystem and fauna of 44,000 years ago.

How do scientists benefit from studying remains found in permafrost? Studying these remains helps scientists understand ancient ecosystems, evolutionary processes, and the effects of climate change over millennia.

What challenges do scientists face when examining ancient remains? Challenges include preserving the integrity of the remains during excavation and analysis, and accurately dating and interpreting the findings within a broader ecological and evolutionary context.

How does climate change affect permafrost? Climate change is causing permafrost to melt, which can lead to the release of trapped organic material, including greenhouse gases, and the potential loss of preserved ancient remains.

Read More Articles at Fortieth Mag


Post a Comment


Post a Comment (0)