India Markets open in 3 hrs 13 mins

The mystery of 18,000-year-old puppy frozen in time solved!

FE Online
18,000-year-old puppy, permafrost, Russia, Siberia, dog lineage, gnome sequencing, Swedish Centre of Paleogenetics, DNA, grey wolves

Scientists from Russia, early this week, displayed an 18,000-year-old male puppy. It was discovered in 2018 by locals in a frozen ground near Indigirka River in Eastern Russia's Yakutia region. The Siberian Times reported it as having a full-body, muzzle, whiskers and even eyelashes preserved by permafrost. Permafrost is the ground that has remained frozen below zero degree celsius for a period of two years or more.

Also Read | NASA's Parker Solar Probe unveils 'spectacular trove', sends first-ever insights from Sun's edge

The puppy died when it was less than two months old. It has been named Dogor by the scientists. Dogor means friend in the Yakut language. Scientists have struggled to identify if it really is a dog or a wolf. Genome sequencing revealed information stored inside the DNA. Even the results of genome sequencing have not helped researchers from the Swedish Centre of Paleogenetics in yielding any definitive results.

It has led to speculation among scientists that were the dog alive he might have the traits of both dog and wolf. Scientists believe so as the dog was alive at a time when their species were evolving from wolves.

Dogor's discovery is important because Siberia's melting permafrost has led to many such discoveries of prehistoric animals, including canines like Dogor and woolly mammoths. In 2011 also an ice age dog's snout was discovered by hunters searching for mammoth tusks. In 2016 as well, scientists had uncovered two such puppies whom they named as Tumat.

The above findings are important because they will help trace the lineage of domesticated dogs. Although scientists have speculated that dogs have evolved from wolves there is no concrete time period established by them for the same.

The North-East Federal University in Yakutsk issued a press release saying that the puppy could be a wolf or a so-called wolf dog. The release also mentioned that the grey wolves and dogs diverged from an extinct wolf that had died about 15,000 to 40,000 years ago.