In the summer of 2018, near the Indigirka River in the northeast of Yakutsk, Siberia – the coldest city in the world, Russian scientists unearthed a dead puppy in the permafrost. This corpse still has hair, beard, eyelashes and sharp teeth. After analysis, scientists said that this puppy lived during an ice age 18,000 years ago.
Modern-day dogs are believed to have been domesticated from wolves, but it is unclear exactly when. In 2017, a study published in Nature Communications found that modern dogs were domesticated from single wolves about 20,000 to 40,000 years ago.
The puppy was identified as only about two months old, but DNA tests failed to identify its species. Until now, scientists were not sure if it was an ice age dog or a wolf, or an evolutionary branch of wolves.
Russian scientists have provided samples of the puppy to the Swedish Center for Paleontology (CPG), in the hope of revealing its “true identity”.
This 18,000-year-old dog, named Dogor, was found in 2018 by Love Dalén and Dave Stanton, 34. They have since been trying to figure out if it was a wolf or a dog, or an entirely new species – the common ancestor of both wolves and domestic dogs.
“The Swedish Center for Paleontology is the largest canine DNA bank in Europe, but in this case, scientists have not yet been able to specifically identify the species,” said Dr. Serge Fedorov. because it comes from the time when dogs were domesticated.
He also pointed out that this is a very interesting study in paleontology, if it really is a puppy it will probably be the earliest dog to be domesticated by humans or not this could be. is a new species – the common ancestor of wolves and domestic dogs.
A Swedish scientist tweeted: “This ancient puppy lived 18,000 years ago, but it still looks like it was yesterday. We sequenced its genome, but couldn’t make it clear whether it’s a wolf or a dog. Could this be a common ancestor of wolves and dogs? We need more time to analyze.”
Dalén, a professor of evolutionary genetics, said: “When we found the dog, we didn’t know how old it was. They say they found it in the permafrost but it looks like everything there has been frozen for a few hundred years or decades. We were excited about this dog, although we remained skeptical, until we used radioactive carbon. The obvious result is 18,000 years old, which changes everything. 18,000 years ago, it was an exciting time where we think a lot of things were happening to both wolves and dogs. I assumed we found a wolf. But the initial results of studying the genome make it impossible for us to tell if it is a dog or a wolf.”
This ancient puppy was named “Dogor”, which means “friend” in the local Yakutian language. The name is also a play on words expressing the uncertainty of whether it is a dog or a wolf.
Researcher Dave Fellow said the animal was found in a tunnel while digging into the permafrost, which is why it is so well preserved. It was discovered in a remote part of northeastern Siberia, a few hours from the nearest town Belaya Gora and still in Russia while Love and Dave studied its ribs in Sweden.
Dr. Fedorov, from the Institute of Applied Ecology, Northeastern Federal University of Russia, said that further research and analysis will be carried out in the next step. Another point of view is that this species may represent an evolutionary process from wolf to domestic dog.
“It’s very rare to get such a well-preserved specimen,” said Dave. It’s basically been frozen for the last 18,000 years. You can’t find anything like this unless you look in the tape, and obviously not many people do.”
Scientists think that the ancestor of many modern dog breeds may have been a population of wolves that existed for thousands of years in Europe. They are thought to have evolved from an extinct species of wolf 15,000 to 40,000 years ago.
It seems that dogs domesticated from wolves are extinct. Therefore, finding out exactly when and where dogs were domesticated is very difficult.
Arnold Serge Fedorov, 58, who took the pictures of the 18,000-year-old dog, said: “It’s an amazing feeling to see, touch and feel the history of the earth.
Imagine, this puppy has been lying underground in the same posture and conditions for 18,000 years without being bothered at all.
I carefully removed the dirt and other debris from its body step by step, revealing its coat in excellent condition, which was extremely rare for animals of the time.
The only minus point is that the dog’s spine is exposed, revealing a rib.”