Archive for December 3rd, 2019

They’re good dogs/wolves/, Brent

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019

A canid puppy that died 18,000 years ago in northeastern Siberia, has been discovered in such good condition it looks like it’s asleep. It was found in the summer of 2018 near the village of Belaya Gora, its body intact with fur, whiskers, eyelashes and velvety muzzle preserved for all this time in the permafrost. It arrowhead-shaped baby teeth indicate it was less than two months old when it died. Its fluffy little paws, baby nails and nose could easily garner a 14/10 on We Rate Dogs. It’sw ay cuter than the 14,000-year-old canid puppy found in Tumat, Siberia, in 2015.

As with its younger neighbor, the puppy’s species has yet to be revealed. Scientists with the Swedish Centre for Palaeogenetics (CPG) Scientists were able to extract 43% endogenous DNA, an impressive figure for prehistoric remains. Initial analyses have found he was male, but have not been able to determine if he was a dog or a wolf.

“It’s normally relatively easy to tell the difference between the two,” David Stanton, a researcher at the Centre for Palaeogenetics, 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 explained.

Stanton told CNN that the period the puppy is from 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. We are interested in whether it is in fact a dog or a wolf, or perhaps it’s something halfway between the two,” he said.

Further genome sequencing may well answer the question. If he does turn out to be a dog, he would be the oldest ever discovered. Russian scientists have given him the name Dogor, the Yakutian word for friend, as in man’s best.

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