These amazingly preserved remains of a young wolf or dog, not yet quite clear, have been discovered in the permafrost in Siberia.
The remains were found by Swedish researchers during a joint Russian-Swedish expedition in the summer of 2018.
It has been called “Dogor” which means “friend” in the Yakut language spoken in the area. The place of the discovery is located near the Indigirka River in Siberia, northeast of Yakutsk.
A wolf or a dog?
Although it has been determined that the puppy is male and is approximately 18,000 years old, the preliminary genome sequence could not determine whether it is a wolf, a dog or perhaps a common ancestor of the two, protoperros.
The animal has been studied at the Swedish Center for Palaeogenetics (CPG).
The GPC has the largest DNA bank in Europe of all canines worldwide, but in this case they could not identify it from the first attempt
Sergey Fedorov, of the Institute of Applied Ecology of the North at North-Eastern Federal University, said in a statement:
This is intriguing, what if it is a dog? We are eager to get more test results.
The official scientific version suggests that the first dogs appeared no earlier than 10-15 thousand years ago.
The photos below are taken by Sergey Fedorov (siberiantimes.com).
At the same time, DNA analysis by the Swedish Center for Palaeogenetics did not help scientists confirm that it was a dog. Scientists have carefully sequenced the genome of the animal but have not yet achieved accurate results. Now, the Swedes are preparing to conduct a more in-depth genome study.
Possible ancient domestication
Humans began to settle in this northern part of Russia about 32,500 years ago. In addition, previous research has suggested that humans domesticated wolf dogs about 10,000 to 40,000 years ago.
The researchers suggest that Dogor could, in theory, fit anywhere within this range as a loyal domestic dog, a voracious wild wolf or anything in between.
Thanks to permafrost, the preservation conditions of this specimen were practically perfect. Temperatures below zero preserved organic matter and prevented the bacterial and fungal growth that would break down the body, but not cold enough to damage tissues.
Even scientists believe it is possible to obtain viable DNA fragments that can be used to sequence the genome of the organism in question.
But this case is not the only one, some months ago the head of a 40,000-year-old Ice Age wolf was found, still covered in fur and fur, found north of Yakutia.
Previously, researchers have found dozens of woolly mammoths in the permafrost of Siberia.
Although there is still a long way to go, scientists have even thought about harnessing the DNA of mammoths preserved with permafrost and using it to resurrect the species from extinction. What surprises will we encounter in the coming years?