Found Frozen and Almost Perfectly Preserved in Permafrost, this 18,000-Year-Old Puppy Could Be a Huge Deal
The DNA of an exquisitely preserved puppy found in Siberia doesn’t appear to fit the profile of a dog or a wolf, which means the specimen might be something in between.
The frozen puppy, found near Yakutsk in eastern Siberia, was just two months old when it died, reports CNN. Scientists from the Centre for Palaeogenetics—a joint project between Stockholm University and the Swedish Museum of Natural History—used radiocarbon dating on its rib bone to place its brief time on Earth to 18,000 years ago, during the tail end of the last Ice Age.
The level of preservation is unreal, with the puppy still exhibiting intact teeth, nose, and fur. Scientists were able to extract DNA from the specimen, allowing them to confirm the pup’s sex as male. It has since been named “Dogor,” which means “friend” in Yakutian.
As to which species this animal belonged is now an intriguing question, as the DNA analysis was inconclusive. The little critter doesn’t seem to fit the genetic profile of a dog or a wolf, and it quite possibly represents an intermediary stage during the domestication of dogs.
“We have a lot of data from it already, and with that amount of data, you’d expect to tell if it was one or the other,” David Stanton, a researcher at the Centre for Palaeogenetics, told CNN. “The fact that we can’t might suggest that it’s from a population that was ancestral to both—to dogs and wolves.”