, USA TODAY
Published 4:04 p.m. ET Feb. 21, 2020 | Updated 4:08 p.m. ET Feb. 21, 2020

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A bird that’s spent the last 46,000 years frozen in the Siberian permafrost was discovered by fossil hunters looking for ivory.

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A frozen bird discovered on the ground in northeastern Siberia by fossil ivory hunters is believed to be around 46,000 years old and provides a crucial piece for researchers to learn more about the end of the Ice Age.

The “exceptionally well-preserved” horned lark was found in 2018 and was sent to researchers at the Center for Paleogenetics at Stockholm University and the Swedish Museum of Natural History. 

Researchers found that the carcass — a female lark — was around 44,000 to 49,000 years old. This is the first bird carcass procured from Ice Age permafrost deposits, they note. Their findings were published Friday in the peer-reviewed journal Communications Biology.

Nicholas Dussex, a researcher at Stockholm University, said in a statement that the lark is also an ancestor of two different lark subspecies — one in Mongolia and one

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