Wolf-Dog: Well Preserved Remains Of 18,000-Year-Old Puppy Puzzles Scientists

28 Novembre, 2019, 23:38 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Sergey Fedorov  North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk

Sure, Dogor looks like a Doggo dog, but is he? "We are interested in whether it is in fact a dog or a wolf, or perhaps it's something halfway between the two", he said. The name means "friend" in Yakutian - as well as referencing the question "dog or wolf?" The specimen was recovered in 2018 near Belaya Gora, a place in eastern Siberia where many other Mammoth specimens from the Ice Age were found. The well-preserved canine is still in Russian Federation, although one of its ribs was sent away to Sweden for testing.

Experts from Sweden's Centre for Palaeogenetics used carbon dating on the specimen's ribs to confirm that it has been frozen for nearly 18,000 years.

DNA sequencing has been unable to determine the species.

The canine - which was two months old when it died - has been remarkably preserved in the permafrost of the Russian region, with its fur, nose and teeth all intact.

In Dogor's case things are a bit more complicated, as Mr Stanton said the specimen's origins stretched back to a time when, it was thought, some wolf populations were being domesticated into dogs.

A scientist holds a 18,000-year-old puppy recovered from Siberian permafrost.

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"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 little guy did not seem to be in distress at the time of death, the researchers told the Siberian Times. Photographs released by the Centre for Palaeogenetics show the puppy in an nearly flawless condition, with its nose, whiskers and teeth remarkably intact.

A pint-sized canine was recently unearthed in Siberia, nearly perfectly preserved beneath the frosty surface.

"It has been virtually frozen in the last 18,000 years to keep it in fantastic shape", Stanton told Australian ABC News.

He added that more study is needed, but the specimen could shed light on how dogs became humanity's best friend. "If it's an early dog, it'll be very informative".

Presently, it remains unclear when dogs were exactly domesticated - one study from 2017 suggested that domestication happened between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago, resulting from a divergent European wolf population.

"We don't know exactly when dogs were domesticated, but it may have been from about that time".

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