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Preserved snout of an adult Ice Age bear found in Russia in 2020 (this is not the bear discovered on Bolshoi Lyakhovsky Island. Source: North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk (NEFU)

3,500-Year-Old Mummified Bear Found in Siberian Permafrost

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As the permafrost in Siberia melts, it has revealed a mummified brown bear that lived more than three millennia ago. Scientists are now planning to conduct an autopsy on the bear, with the hope of making a breakthrough in the study of ancient animals.

The bear's remains were found by deer herders on Bolshoi Lyakhovsky Island, about 5 miles from the Bolshoi Eterikan River. Maksim Cherpasov, a senior researcher at the Mammoth Laboratory Museum of Russia's North-Eastern University, explained that the carcass was already fossilized because it was in the permafrost. The body parts were extracted from the soil, prepared for transportation, and taken to a nearby settlement.

Studying the Carcass: Dissection and Analysis

"This find is absolutely unique: the complete carcass of an ancient brown bear," said Maxim Cheprasov, laboratory chief at the Lazarev Mammoth Museum Laboratory at the North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk, eastern Siberia.

The scientists now have the opportunity to study its internal organs and examine the brain. The bear is 3,460 years old, which means it lived more than 1,400 years ago, before the fall of the Egyptian and Roman empires. The researchers determined that the bear was female, measuring more than 5 feet tall and weighing more than 170 pounds, reports Reuters.

The researchers are keen to learn more about the bear's exact age, how it died, and how it compares to modern animals. They also want to examine the bear's histology and cells. So far, it appears that the bear died between the ages of 2 and 3 from a spinal injury.

South Korean cell researcher Hwang Woo-Suk is optimistic about the research prospects that the autopsy provides. "We have a very extraordinarily important chance to have an autopsy and to get a sample from the ancient brown bear," he said. "I am sure we can start culturing from that samples and hopefully, when we get the live cell, it will be one of historic achievements, breakthrough for ancient animal study."

A Siberian brown bear. Source: lucaar / Adobe Stock

A Siberian brown bear. Source: lucaar / Adobe Stock

The Changing Climate and Siberia’s Melting Permafrost

As the permafrost in Siberia melts, it has revealed well-preserved remains of animals that lived during the last ice age, such as woolly mammoths, woolly rhinoceroses, cave lions, and cave bears. These animals lived in the region tens of thousands of years ago when the climate was much colder than it is today, reports Radio Free Europe.

The melting permafrost has also revealed other animals that lived in more recent times, including ancient horses, bison, and wolves. In 2015, a well-preserved body of a cave lion cub was discovered in the Siberian permafrost. The cub was estimated to have been frozen for around 28,000 years, making it one of the best-preserved Ice Age animals ever found.

An Ice Age bear cub found on the Yakutia mainland (North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk)

An Ice Age bear cub found on the Yakutia mainland (North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk)

In 2018, a well-preserved head of a steppe wolf, which is believed to be around 30,000 years old, was found in the Siberian permafrost. The head was remarkably preserved, with fur, teeth, and even the brain intact. In 2019, a large, intact mammoth foot was discovered in the Siberian permafrost. The foot is believed to be around 50,000 years old and is one of the best-preserved mammoth fossils ever found. In addition to these large animals, the permafrost has also preserved the remains of smaller creatures such as rodents, birds, and insects.

The discovery of these animals provides important insights into the ecosystems of the past and how they have changed over time. They also offer opportunities for scientists to study the genetic material and other biological information that has been preserved in the permafrost, which could help in understanding the evolution of these species and their interactions with their environment.

Top image: Preserved snout of an adult Ice Age bear found in Russia in 2020 (this is not the bear discovered on Bolshoi Lyakhovsky Island. Source: North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk (NEFU)

By Sahir Pandey


Bharade, A. 2023. A 3,500-year-old bear that was perfectly preserved in permafrost is being dissected by Russian researchers now. Available at:

Cohen, L. 2023. An ancient bear was found melted out of Siberian permafrost. Scientists hope it will be a "breakthrough for ancient animal study". Available at:

Kasolowsky, R., Jones, G. 2023. Scientists dissect 3,500-year-old bear discovered in Siberian permafrost. Available at:

Luxmore, M. 2023. As Siberia's Permafrost Thaws, Scientists Marvel At The Mammoth Treasures Beneath. Available at:



Pete Wagner's picture

Remains of many more big animals are certainly down there.  ...And it presents the perfect opportunity for humanity to clone the extinct ones – with living surrogate mothers of the closest species – to bring them back to existence.  

Let’s talk about what ‘permafrost’ really is.  Most of it is basically the equivalent of a bog, except it’s frozen.  Like bogs, they were created upon the sudden emergence of the Ice Age (circa 115k BC, adding the zero back to Plato’s Atlantis timeline), which killed, then buried/froze, all organic matter, plants and animals, before they had a chance to decompose.  The Ice Age causing event, which flattened Atlantis (Richat Structure) and rendered ruin to Atlantean-era stone complexes and caverns the world over (which were much later resettled by other people) created an immediate death zone, possibly sterile due to radiation, that impeded even composting bacteria.  At present, over a 100k years later, any residual radiation is probably next to nil.  The black-headed Sumerians probably knew and did not take any chances – they waited over 100k years to land and begin their existence as told in their Book of Genesis.  How some pockets of Atlantean-era survivors (fair-haired European types) survived remains the biggest mystery and untold story.

Let’s also point out that prior to the Ice Age, there were no ice caps, no permafrost.  So any permafrost today is no OLDER than about 115k BC.  It’s possible it could be younger than that, but that’s VERY UNLIKELY due to what we know about the history of the glaciation.

Nobody gets paid to tell the truth.

Sahir's picture


I am a graduate of History from the University of Delhi, and a graduate of Law, from Jindal University, Sonepat. During my study of history, I developed a great interest in post-colonial studies, with a focus on Latin America. I... Read More

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