Ancient artifacts found in an Immanai cave in Russia have revealed what could be the largest ever find of supersize cave lions in history. The find has caused plenty of excitement among archaeologists worldwide as they can now delve into more research on the rare creature that went extinct some 30,000 years ago.
In the Russian republic of Bashkiria, deep in the Immanai caves, archaeologists have found a trove of 500 cave lion bones. They also found the remains of a cave bear with a spear made from ancient material rooted deep into its skull. However, they found no sign of prehistoric people living in the cave.
Senior Researcher Pavel Kosintsev, from the Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology said, “We found about 500 bones and fragments of bones of the giant cave lion. But there could be more, after we finish with sorting the collection.
'Such a large quantity of giant cave lion bones at one site is really unique, the only one in the world so far discovered.”
The experts reported finding and sorting the remains of up to six cave lions. They also added that the remains were found peculiarly deep in the caves, which was unlike cave lion tendencies.
Kosintsev said, ”Surprisingly, the bones were found in the depths of the cave, about 100 metres from the entrance. Usually lions did not go so deep into the cave, it is not typical for them.”
Cave lions, unlike their names, did not live inside caves. They would hunt cave bears and steal their cubs from inside the caves.
The giant cave lions lived in about the same period as Neanderthals, and were up to 25 per cent bigger than the African lions. The mammoth beasts were wiped out by a Quarternary extinction event.
Finding no signs of human life in the caves, scientists believe the caves were ancient religious places for sacrificing to ancient gods.
Kosintsev said the cave was “an ancient sanctuary - and those lions could have been brought to the cave by ancient people. 'There are other findings that can indicate it was a sanctuary. We also found the skull of a cave bear pierced with the spear, yet there were no evidence that ancient people hunted cave bears, at least not in the Urals.”
The materials have not been dated but finds collected in the upper layers were said to have been from as far back as 30,000 years ago. According to Kosintsev, “The recent findings, from the lower layers, can be older, up to 60,000 years ago. If we will get older data, it could be the world's most ancient sanctuary of this type. But of course we must wait for the exact data.”
The new findings are one of the greatest discoveries of the giant animals in history. As archaeologists dig deeper, only time will tell what other historical mysteries they will uncover.