18,000-Year-Old Puppy Found with Whiskers, Hair, and Velvety Nose
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)
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.”
- Siberian Puppy Frozen for 14,300 Years is a Major RNA Breakthrough
- Ancient puppy brain is well preserved as dog bares its teeth after 12,400 years
- Autopsy carried out in Far East on world's oldest dog mummified by ice
“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…..?
- Hairless Dogs Hang Out at Peru’s Ancient Pyramids
- Beware the Kitsune, The Shapeshifting Fox of Japanese Folklore
- Dogs and Foxes Were Domesticated By Bronze Age Humans
The earlier-discovered Tumat puppies in Yakutia. (North-Eastern Federal University, The Siberian Times)
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.