The fully grown Pleistocene wolf was around two to four years old when it perished. Images of the wolf taken by Albert Protopopov, a researcher at the Republic of Sakha Academy of Sciences, show clumps of thick fur on its head, an immaculate snout, and a terrifying set of fangs. The head is enormous, measuring 15.7 inches (40 cm) in length. A modern wolf’s head measures only 9.1 to 11 inches (23 to 28 cm).
When asked if this might be a dire wolf, Meachen said it’s doubtful.
“Currently, our knowledge of [ancient wolves] suggests that above 55 degrees N latitude we don’t see dire wolves,” explained Meachen to Gizmodo. “Above 55 degrees we see mostly Beringian wolves, which are a close relative of the living gray wolf. However, the only way to know for sure is to sequence its DNA. We’re realizing how little we know about wolf paleobiogeography. If it is a dire wolf, it would be the northernmost instance ever and it would be the only known soft tissue dire wolf preserved.”
Excitingly, the Swedish Museum of Natural History will attempt to extract DNA from this specimen, the Siberian Times reported.