Is is a Dog? Is it a Wolf? Researchers Unable to Determine a Preserved Canine’s Species

​A team of researchers is challenged by a newly-discovered preserved canine, most probably about 18,000-year-old. They are trying to figure out whether the puppy they found in the freezing Siberia is a dog or a wolf.

The researchers determined that the puppy was two months old when it died, and has been incredibly preserved in the permafrost of Siberia, having its fur, nose, and teeth perfectly intact. However, when the team of scientists took samples of its DNA and analyzed, no particular species came out, and they got stuck. The team says that this could mean the canine symbolizes en evolutionary correlation between wolfs and modern dogs.

Researchers used a radiocarbon dating technique to determine the age of the puppy when it died, and how long it has been frozen for. To identify its gender, the team analyzed genomes taken from it and determined it was male.

Dog or Wolf?

Researcher Dave Stanton at the Centre for Palaeogenetics in Sweden said that the DNA sequencing problem could mean that the animal could come from a breed that is a common ancestor of dogs and wolves as well.

“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,” he said.

Another scientist from the institute, Love Dalen, posted a question on his Twitter account about whether the animal is a wolf cub or probably the oldest dog ever discovered.

Researchers found the two-months-old puppy incredibly preserved in the permafrost of Siberia, having its fur, nose, and teeth perfectly intact. [Image: Love Dalen]
Scientists will advance in their analyses of the DNA sequences and hope the findings could show a number of things about the evolution of dogs.

The canine has been given a name, Dogor, which means ‘friend’ in the Yakut language. Modern dogs are theorized to be the successors of wolves, but there is a dispute regarding the period when dogs were domesticated.

Research published back in 2017 seems to imply that domestication could have occurred about 20,000 to 40,000 years ago.

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