Researchers believe this discovery could be key in finding out an evolutionary link between wolves and modern dogs.
Photo credits: Centre for Palaeogenetics
In a rather stunning discovery, a two-month-old 'puppy' believed to be almost 18,000-years-old has been found preserved in near-perfect condition in Siberia.
Discovered near Yakutsk in eastern Siberia, scientists believe this could be key in finding out an evolutionary link between wolves and modern dogs. It was found in summer 2018 in a lump of frozen ground near the Indigirka River. Despite all these years, it somehow appears to be snarling.
We now have some news on the 18,000 year old #wolf or #dog puppy.— Centre for Palaeogenetics (@CpgSthlm) November 25, 2019
Genome analyses shows it's a male. So we asked our Russian colleagues to name it...
Thus, the name of the puppy is Dogor!
Dogor is a Yakutian word for "friend", which seems very suitable. pic.twitter.com/epIz8mEpVW
The origins of the puppy are still puzzling to many scientists considering they can't decide if the puppy is a dog or a wolf.
The fossils were extremely well-preserved with its nose, fur and teeth still intact. The age of the puppy was found out by experts after radiocarbon dating of a rib bone at Sweden’s Centre for Palaeogenetics. Despite further DNA testing, researchers haven't been able to confirm its species.
Here is another amazing find from the Belaya Gora site!— Love Dalén (@love_dalen) April 16, 2019
Radiocarbon dating says it 18,000 years old.
Question: is it a #wolf cub, or possibly the oldest #dog ever found?
We are hoping to answer this by sequencing it's genome (it has 43% endogenous DNA).
But what do you think? pic.twitter.com/MTZ918GFBf
“It’s normally relatively easy to tell the difference between the two,” David Stanton, a researcher at the center told CNN.
“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. The fact that we can’t might suggest that it’s from a population that was ancestral to both — to dogs and wolves,” he added.
Scientists say an 18,000-year-old frozen puppy discovered in Russian Siberia could be the oldest dog ever found. https://t.co/C2rhCpfQJj— 10 News First (@10NewsFirst) November 28, 2019
As of now, researchers are calling their discovery Dogor, the Yakut word for “friend," reports New York Post.
Stanton added that the time Dogor lived is “a very interesting time in terms of wolf and dog evolution. We don’t know exactly when dogs were domesticated, but it may have been from about that time,” he adds. “We are interested in whether it is, in fact, a dog or a wolf, or perhaps it’s something halfway between the two.”
Modern dogs are believed to be descendants of wolves, however, there is no confirmation over when they were domesticated.
The researchers at the Center for Palaeogenetics took to Twitter and said that genome analysis revealed that the puppy was male. However, they haven't been able to determine the cause of death.
So what do you think? Is it a wolf or a dog?