- Researchers recently discovered an incredibly well-preserved ancient puppy frozen in permafrost in Yakutsk, Russia.
- The scientists used carbon dating to determine how old this specimen is and its age at time of death, but remain perplexed as to whether it's a wolf or dog.
- The scientists will conduct additional tests to find out more about the mysterious pup.
Scientists have discovered a beautifully preserved specimen buried in permafrost in eastern Russia, near the capital city of Yakutsk. The dog (or is it a wolf?) is estimated to be around 18,000 years old—possibly the oldest pup ever found, according to New Scientist.
The research team that uncovered “Dogor” (Yakutian for “friend”) worked in conjunction with the Centre for Paleogenetics, which carbon dated his rib bones, to determine he was male and approximately two months old when he died.
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
But the team behind the discovery is having trouble discerning whether Dogor is a wolf or dog. At least one person on the team believes he's an ancestor of both species.
“We have a lot of data from [Dogor] already, and with that amount of data, you'd expect to tell if it was one or the other," David Stanton, a researcher with the Centre, 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."
The researchers discovered Dogor within a lump of frozen mud last year with exceptionally preserved hair, teeth, whiskers, eyelashes, and a snout, per The Associated Press. That stunning level of preservation is rare, although it's becoming more prevalent as we face a continually a warming climate that has exposed several specimens frozen in time for thousands of years. Back in 2018, for example, scientists discovered a wolf head in Siberian permafrost that they estimated to be around 40,000 years old.
Researchers plan to continue conducting genome tests to learn more about the specimen. Right now, Dogor is on display at Russia’s Mammoth Museum in Yakutsk.
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