WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A prehistoric puppy found in permafrost in Russia last year has now been revealed to be around 18,000 years old.
- The specimen has been so well-preserved that it “has all its limbs, pelage — fur, even whiskers” intact.
- Further tests are still required, however, to determine whether the puppy is a dog or a wolf.
A prehistoric puppy found in permafrost in Russia has now been revealed to be around 18,000 years old, according to an AP report.
The specimen is now housed at the Yakutsk’s Mammoth Museum, which specializes in ancient specimens.
The puppy has been so well-preserved that it “has all its limbs, pelage — fur, even whiskers” intact, said Nikolai Androsov, director of the Northern World private museum where the remains are stored.
Androsov added, “The nose is visible. There are teeth. We can determine due to some data that it is a male.”
The puppy was discovered last year in a lump of frozen mud, after which scientists took a sample of its bone to study its DNA.
The tests revealed the puppy to be roughly 18,000 years old. However, further tests led to even more questions.
A professor of evolutionary genetics at the center, Love Dalén, explained, “We have now generated a nearly complete genome sequence from it and normally when you have a two-fold coverage genome, which is what we have, you should be able to relatively easily say whether it’s a dog or a wolf, but we still can’t say and that makes it even more interesting.”
The scientists hope to solve the mystery in the third round of genome sequencing.
With regard to the puppy only being discovered recently, Sergei Fyodorov, a scientist with the North Eastern Federal University, told AP that it is no accident.
Fyodorov explained that the recent discoveries of prehistoric animals such as woolly mammoths and canines in the region are hugely attributed to climate change.