Her life was short. Scientists estimate she lived for about six or seven weeks in the underground den, before it collapsed around her. This tragedy and the permafrost that preserved her body are the reasons we know of this wolf pup’s existence approximately 57,000 years later. Zhùr, or ‘wolf’ in the Hän language, is the subject of a paper published today in Current Biology.
Her preservation is exquisite: from the details of her face and lips, to the tiny claws on each paw and her sweet ginger fur. Unlike mere bones, the fluffy body of Zhùr gives us a tantalizingly vivid look at an animal that co-existed with woolly mammoths and other creatures that have since gone extinct.