Cave and modern lions compared hair to hair

and Japanese researchers have compared the structure of the hair of young and adult individuals of the cave and modern (African) lions. It turned out that the cave lions at the age of two to four weeks, and had a dense under-wool, which protected them from the cold, while the African lions, which is urgent to cool off, not retain heat, it is at any age is poorly developed. Article published in the journal proceedings ofn Academy of Sciences, series “Science of life”.

Cave lions lived in Eurasia in the Pleistocene, according to different estimates from 370-700 to 10-14 thousand years ago. Except the skeletons and fragments of skins of adult individuals of known mummy cave cubs. They are found in perennial permafrost in Yakutia: first, in 2015, there found Uana and Dean (cubs called by the name of the river Bandini, on the banks of which they found), then, in 2017 — lion Boris (he was discovered by a local resident Boris bereznev at the river Samuela), and in 2018 15 metres from Boris female which was called Sparta in honor of the author’s findings (although at first thought it was a male). They are all well preserved, and the researchers expect to obtain detailed information about the anatomy, genetics and lifestyle of these animals.

Radiocarbon Dating showed that he lived about 43,000 years ago, Sparta is about 28 000 years ago. At the time of the death of Boris was two or three weeks, he’s older and bigger than all the cubs discovered. In addition, it looks plump and has no serious damages, the cause of his death is unclear. Sparta died at the age of one to two weeks. Her body shows signs of exhaustion, so that she could die from hunger. It is also likely that killed her mother.

Employees of severaln research organizations and Dzhikey University (Japan) headed by Olga Chernova from the Institute of ecology and evolution named Severtsov RAS using light and electron microscopy studied the structure of the hair of Boris and Sparta, and compared it with the structure of wool four-month-old African lion cubs from the Crimean kennel of lions “Taigan”. The scientists also analyzed the data on wool adult African lions and the previously found piece of skin, which is believed to have belonged to an adult cave lion. Researchers were interested in the shape and density of the arrangement of the hair, the ornament on their cuticle (that looks like the surface of the hair), and their internal structure.

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