Dog or Wolf? 18,000-year-old frozen puppy leaves scientists baffled

A 18,000-year-old body of a near perfectly preserved puppy has left scientists puzzled.

Russian scientists discovered the body of the canine near Yakutsk, in eastern Siberia. Preserved by permafrost, the specimen’s nose, fur and teeth are remarkably intact.

Using carbon dating on the creature’s rib bone, experts from Sweden’s Centre for Palaeogenetics were able to confirm that the specimen had been frozen for around 18,000 years, but extensive DNA tests have so far been unable to show whether the animal was a dog or a wolf.

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 tests might provide more insight into exactly when dogs were domesticated, Stanton said.

Modern dogs are thought to have been domesticated from wolves, but exactly when is unclear — in 2017, a study published in the journal Nature Communications found that modern dogs were domesticated from a single population of wolves 20,000 to 40,000 years ago.

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