The first ever perfectly preserved remains of an adult cave bear from the Ice Age have been discovered in Russia.
According to researchers, the specimen was unearthed in the arctic, on the Lyakhovsky Islands.
The nose, the soft tissue, including all the internal organs, are intact, giving scientists hope of obtaining its DNA.
Until now, only the bones of cave bears have been discovered.
The remains were found by reindeer herders on the island, and will be analysed by scientists at the North-Eastern Federal University (NEFU) in Yakutsk.
The university said that Russian and foreign colleagues will be invited to join the study.
“The cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) is a prehistoric species or subspecies that lived in Eurasia in the Middle and Late Pleistocene period and became extinct about 15,000 years ago,” said the university in a statement about the discovery.
They added that preliminary analysis suggests the bear to be between 22,000 and 39,500 years old.
“It is necessary to carry out radiocarbon analysis to determine the precise age of the bear,” said senior researcher Maxim Cheprasov from the Mammoth Museum laboratory.
The finder transferred the right to research to the scientists of NEFU, he said.
Recent years have seen several major discoveries as permafrost melts in Siberia, including mammoths, woolly rhinos, Ice Age foals, several puppies and Cave Lion cubs.