When Pavel Efimov took a walk last summer along the shores of the Tirekhytakh River in Yakutia, Siberia, he probably never imagined that the melting permafrost would yield a discovery scary enough to haunt his nightmares for weeks to come.
Efimov stumbled across a giant wolf head with fur and fangs still intact, according to the Siberian Times. He knew immediately this was no normal, modern wolf. The head alone was half the size of the body of most wolves alive today.
It turns out the head belonged to an animal that roamed the region more than 40,000 years ago during the Pleistocene epoch, the Times reported.
Efimov turned the head over to scientists and they revealed it belonged to a fully grown ancient wolf between 2 and 4 years old when it died. It’s the first discovery of a fully grown wolf from the Pleistocene period, according to the Times.
The head went on display in Tokyo as part of a wooly mammoth display, the newspaper reported. Its next stop is the Swedish Museum of Natural History, where scientists plan to compare genetic material from the ancient wolf with its modern relatives.