On Monday, the Siberian Times of Russia released an exclusive first look at a face the world has never seen before - a face belonging to one of two lion cubs who died over 10,000 years ago. Their two bodies were discovered this summer by the paleontology team at the Academy of Sciences of Yakutia.
Although these cubs spent most of their years on Earth trapped in Siberian permafrost, in life, they belonged to a species of lions called the panthera spelaea, or cave lion, which died off in the Late Pleistocene era. Today's African lions have a similar scientific name: panthera leo.
Spending the last several millennia buried in Siberian permafrost has done wonders to preserve these cubs' skin and fur. According to the team who discovered them, they are the most well-preserved specimen of cave lions the scientific community has to date.
Painting of a cave lion as depicted by Heinrich Harder, artist and professor at The Prussian Academy of Arts in Berlin (Wikimedia Commons)