46,000-year-old frozen bird discovered in Siberia

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Feb 24, 2020, 03.49 PM(IST)

The 46,000-year old specimen which was discovered in Siberia. Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The bird was buried and frozen in permafrost near the village of Belaya Gora in north-eastern Siberia.

A 46,000-year-old frozen bird has been discovered in north-eastern Siberia.

The scientists have identified the specimen as a horned lark (eremophila alpestris)  after its radiocarbon dating according to a paper published Friday in the journal Communications Biology.

The bird was buried and frozen in permafrost near the village of Belaya Gora in north-eastern Siberia.

Also read: When Siberia shivers it's time to fix ships in the ice

It was discovered by local fossil ivory hunters, who passed it on to a team of experts for testing.

These experts included Nicolas Dussex and Love Dalen from the Swedish Museum of Natural History.

According to Dalen, ''the bird may be an ancestor to two subspecies of lark alive today, one in northern Russia and the other on the Mongolian steppe''.

"This finding implies that the climatic changes that took place at the end of the last Ice Age led to formation of new subspecies," he added.

Watch: Siberia's warm weather wakes sleepy badgers and Rambo

The specimen is in extraordinarily good condition as per Dussex.

"The fact that such a small and fragile specimen was near intact also suggests that dirt must have been deposited gradually, or at least that the ground was relatively stable so that the bird's carcass was preserved in a state very close to its time of death," he said.

In the next stage of research, the bird's entire genome will be sequenced which will reveal more about its relationship to present day subspecies and estimate the rate of evolutionary change in larks.