Russian scientists present remains of prehistoric puppy found in permafrost
Russian scientists on Monday showed off a prehistoric puppy, believed to be 18,000 years old, found in permafrost in the country’s Far East.
Discovered last year in a lump of frozen mud near the city of Yakutsk, the puppy is unusually well-preserved, with its hair, teeth, whiskers and eyelashes still intact.
“This puppy has all its limbs, pelage – fur, even whiskers. The nose is visible. There are teeth. We can determine due to some data that it is a male,” Nikolai Androsov, director of the Northern World private museum where the remains are stored, said at the presentation at the Yakutsk’s Mammoth Museum, which specializes in ancient specimens.
In recent years, Russia’s Far East has provided many riches for scientists studying the remains of ancient animals. As the permafrost melts, affected by climate change, more and more parts of woolly mammoths, canines and other prehistoric animals are being discovered. Often, it is mammoth-tusk hunters who discover them.
When the puppy was discovered, scientists from the Stockholm-based Center for Palaeogenetics took a piece of bone to study its DNA.
“The first step was of course to send the sample to radio carbon dating to see how old it was, and when we got the results back it turned out that it was roughly 18,000 years old,” Love Dalen, professor of evolutionary genetics at the centre, said.
Further tests, however, left the scientists with more questions than answers – they couldn’t definitively tell whether it was a dog or a wolf. He added that the scientists are about to do a third round of genome sequencing, which might solve the mystery.
Russian scientists are still uncertain whether this prehistoric puppy, discovered in mud last year near Yakutsk, Russia, is a wolf or dog.