18,000-Year-Old Frozen Puppy Leaves Scientists Puzzled – Is it a Dog or a Wolf

image

Image: Love Dalén / Twitter

A pint-sized canine was recently unearthed in Siberia, almost perfectly preserved beneath the frosty surface. It’s believed to be around 18,000 years old, and it was only a puppy when it died. It presents scientists with a rare opportunity to study an ancient member of the canine family, but first, they have to answer one very important question: Is it a dog or a wolf?

image

That might seem like a trivial question, but it’s actually more complicated than you’d imagine. Normally it’s as easy as a simple DNA test, since scientists have a pretty good handle on the genetic makeup of domestic dogs compared to wolves. Early tests of this young specimen didn’t return conclusive results one way or the other.

image

Researchers have spent decades tracing the lineage of domestic dogs and believe Man’s Best Friend was domesticated sometime between around 19,000 to 30,000 years ago, give or take a couple thousand years. Researchers say that at 18,000 years old, this tiny pup might have even more complicated ancestry, perhaps a mix of wild and domesticated canines.

image

“It’s normally relatively easy to tell the difference between the two,” David Stanton of the Centre for Palaeogenetics explained in an interview with 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.”

At this point, very little is known about the animal aside from its age and the fact that it was male. It may still be possible to narrow down the dog’s origins, but it’s going to take a lot of additional work. The researchers are currently planning to dive into the puppy’s genome in the hopes of shedding some light on its family tree.

Related Posts

Galileo and the telescope

The invention of the telescope played an important role in advancing our understanding of Earth’s place in the cosmos. While there is evidence that the principals of telescopes were known in the late 16th century, the first telescopes were created in …

Egyptian rock crystal ring with a sphinx

The design and execution of the sphinx is masterful. It rests with its tail characteristically following the contour of its right, hind leg, around which it rests. Like most Egyptian sphinxes, the head of this example is covered by a nemes-headdress, …

Hunting Knife Combined with Wheellock Pistol, 1530

In the sixteenth century, wheellock pistols sometimes were combined with swords, knives, axes, maces, spears, and even crossbows, which could be used in the event the pistol misfired. Usually clumsy and impractical, combined weapons were nevertheless …

Coin (silver) from Syracuse, Greece around 466 BCE

Coin (silver) from Syracuse, Greece around 466 BCE A pair of intricately cut shoes that were found on a bog body from over 2,300 years ago Helmet made by Milanese armorer Filippo Negroli; 1543 Corsican vendetta knife with floral detail. The blade reads: …

Amazing staircase of Chantilly Castle

Located 40 kilometres north of Paris, in the Picardy region of France, this small town looks like it belongs to a fairytale. The Jewel in the crown of Domaine de Chantilly is the stunning 16th century Chateau, built for Anne de Montmorecy, and is undoubtedly …

1000 years ago some Viking lost in the lake his chest…

In 1936 Hugo Kraft was ploughing his field when found a strange encircled by an iron chain chest. It contained the largest collection of tools of this date so far found: iron working and carpenter’s tools, raw materials, un-finished products. His field …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *