Locals in eastern Siberia who were looking for mammoth ivory along the banks of the Tirekhtyakh River in Yakutia found something else in their search. What they found was nothing short of extraordinary.

Instead of bringing back mammoth ivory as they expected, locals instead brought back a 40,000-year-old wolf’s head complete with teeth and fur that had been preserved by permafrost. The wolf’s head was transported to the mammoth studies department at the Academy of Science of the Republic of Sakha where it awaited further analysis.

Albert Protopopov, director of the mammoth studies department, told CNN that while frozen wolf cubs had been found before in the past, the discovery of an adult wolf’s head in such great condition was nothing short of novel.

“This is the first time the head of an ancient wolf has been found whose soft tissue has been preserved after 40,000 years, a grown wolf,” Protopopov explained to CNN.

Scientists are now trying to render a digital model of the brain and the skull’s interior for further study while a team in Stockholm, Sweden is trying to analyze the wolf’s DNA, Protopopov said.

Additionally, an ancient cave lion cub, an extinct species that is preserved in Yakutia’s vast permafrost areas, is also being investigated.

According to Protopopov, the region will be likely to yield more remains as the planet gets warmer and warmer.

“The number of discoveries is growing because of the thaw of the permafrost,” Protopopov stated.

Earlier this year, scientists announced the discovery of liquid urine and blood within the frozen remains of a 42,000-year-old foal, that had also been preserved by permafrost.

The 42,000-year-old foal was found by mammoth tusk hunters in the Verkhoyansk region in Siberia. Scientists are hoping to be able to clone the unusually well-preserved foal.

In 2016, there was an outbreak of Anthrax in western Siberia. People started getting hospitalized due to anthrax and Russian scientists found out that it had been caused by the thawed carcass of an infected reindeer.

Wolves have been around for a long time and proof of that comes in the form of a 40,000-year-old severed wolf head found in Siberia. The head had been kept in an usually well-preserved state due to permafrost. yzlpcc / Flickr

While it is vital to scientific breakthroughs to find such unusually well-preserved remains, these remains still come from a vastly different time compared to now. Diseased that existed then but don’t exist now could potentially cause an outbreak of massive proportions.