Scientists are attempting to clone extinct Ice Age lion cubs by finding DNA in the remains of the creatures.
Two cubs were found in Russia’s Sakha Republic last August in a near-perfect state thanks to the deep-freeze conditions where they lay.
Researchers hope to find living tissues containing DNA in the remains, which will allow them to recreate the now extinct Ice Age cave lion.
The project is a joint venture by Russian and South Korean scientists at the Joint Foundation of Molecular Paleontology at North East Russia University in the city of Yakutsk.
Semyon Grigoriev, who is involved in the lion cub project, is also working on cloning a mammoth using the same process.
While the first Ice Age cave lion cub will be used for the cloning attempt, the second will be kept as part of the Mammoth Museum’s collection.
The 12,000-year-old cave lion cubs were found frozen in ice last year- so well preserved their whiskers are still bristling.
The pair of prehistoric predators, named Uyan and Dina, are the most unspoilt examples of this ancient big cat species ever found.
Scientists found the felines in a remote Siberian region and dug them up, giving them their first public appearance since Pleistocene times.
Dr Albert Protopopov, head of the mammoth fauna studies department of the Yakutian Academy of Sciences, said: “This find, beyond any doubt, is sensational.”