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The scientists aren’t sure if the 18,000-year-old puppy is a wolf or a dog. Source: Sergey Fedorov

18,000-Year-Old Puppy Found with Whiskers, Hair, and Velvety Nose

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By Anna Lisowska, Svetlana Skarbo

The male puppy with its arrow-head milky teeth was less than two months old when it died. It was found in summer 2018 inside a lump of a frozen ground near Indigirka River, north-east of Yakutsk. Its full body, muzzle, and even whiskers and eyelashes have been preserved by permafrost .

The reason for the puppy’s death has not been determined yet, although its position did not suggest distress, unlike the previously discovered Tumat puppies .

Amazingly preserved puppy with its whiskers, eyelashes, hair, and velvety nose intact puzzle scientists. (Sergey Fedorov)

Amazingly preserved puppy with its whiskers, eyelashes, hair, and velvety nose intact puzzle scientists. (Sergey Fedorov)

Is it a Wolf or Dog Puppy?

Initial genome sequencing carried by Swedish Centre for Palaeogenetics (CPG) surprised researchers in that it failed to define if the 18,000 year old puppy was a wolf or a dog. Love Dalén, professor of Evolutionary Genetics, said that usually the first DNA tests make it clear if this is a wolf or a dog, “The Centre has the Europe’s largest DNA bank of all canines from around the globe, yet in this case they couldn’t identify it from the first try.”

“This is intriguing, what if it’s a dog? We can’t wait to get results from further tests,’ said Sergey Fedorov from the Institute of Applied Ecology of the North, part of the North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk who took these stunning pictures.

Fedorov's words echoed the excited tweet by the Swedish scientists who said: “Dave Stanton is working on this specimen together with Pontus Skoglund.” Dave Stanton is from the Department of Bioinformatics and Genetics at the Swedish Museum of Natural History. Pontus Skoglund is a Swedish population geneticist currently at the Francis Crick Institute and formerly of the Harvard Medical School.

The Swedish scientists also wrote, “It's 18k years old! So far, we have sequenced it's genome to 2X coverage. But we still can't say if it's a wolf or a dog. Maybe it's the common ancestor? More sequencing needed!”

The assumption is that this can be a puppy of either a wolf, a dog, or the so-called wolfdog/early dog, a transitional stage from a wolf to a dog.

The assumption is that this can be a puppy of either a wolf, a dog, or the so-called wolfdog/early dog, a transitional stage from a wolf to a dog. (Sergey Fedorov)

The puppy was christened Dogor, which in Yakut means ‘Friend’ but in English it plays beautifully into a question of what is it, a Dog or…..?

The earlier-discovered Tumat puppies in Yakutia. (North-Eastern Federal University, The Siberian Times)

The earlier-discovered Tumat puppies in Yakutia. (North-Eastern Federal University, The Siberian Times)

Gray wolves and dogs diverged from an extinct wolf species some 15,000 to 40,000 years ago.

Last summer, research reported in Nature Communications pushed likely dates for dog domestication further back into the past, suggesting that they were domesticated just once at least 20,000, but likely closer to 40,000, years ago.

Top Image: The scientists aren’t sure if the 18,000-year-old puppy is a wolf or a dog. Source: Sergey Fedorov 

The article, originally titled ‘ Amazingly preserved puppy with whiskers, eyelashes, hair and velvety nose intact puzzle scientists ,’ first appeared on The Siberian Times and has been republished with permission. 

Comments

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Mary, 'almighty' in English.

Perhaps the article should have explained the difference. If dogs are interbred wolves then what difference does it make whether it is a wolf or dog.

Somebody please tell me how do you make dogs from wolves.
If you know the answer then please show me the precise mechanics of how this is accomplished.
There are so many differing breeds of dogs that the concepts of making wolves into dogs is, in my view, preposterous.

Mary Madeline's picture

Guillaume, how do you know it's a dog? Is it your all mighty knowing wisdom

Mary Madeline

Mary, it is definitely a dog.

How do I know this? Because you have, in your wisdom, know it is a wolf

Mary Madeline's picture

Its definitely a wolf

Mary Madeline

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