Scientists are baffled by 18,000-year-old “wolf-dog” cub found frozen in Siberia


In the summer of 2018, scientists found a puppy buried in a heap of frozen soil near the Indigirka River, northeast of Yakutsk, Russia. The puppy’s entire body, coat, nose, and even mustaches and eyelashes had been preserved thanks to the permafrost.

Scientists deduced that the dog was less than 2 months old when it died, but was unable to determine the causes. This almost perfectly preserved canine is 18,000 years old and could be the oldest “confirmed” dog in history. However, after studying it better, scientists are not sure if it is a dog or a wolf, probably because it is from the time when dogs were domesticated.


More information at: Center for Palaeogenetics

Scientists are still not sure if this canine is a dog or a wolf

Love Dalén and his colleague Dave Stanton, both Swedish researchers, believe it could be the first confirmed dog. If so, it would be incredibly valuable to learn about wolf domestication. “It was incredibly well preserved even before cleaning. When we found it, we didn’t know how old it was. They said it was in permafrost, epro sometimes it happens that there are things there that freeze and are only a few hundred years old, or even a few decades, “said Dalén.

This discovery may be crucial in discovering how wolves were tamed

“We were very excited, but we maintained a good degree of skepticism until we managed to set a date with radiocarbon. Obviously, seeing that he was 18,000 years old changed everything, it was incredible. In that time period, we believe that a lot happened with dogs and wolves, genetically speaking. ”

“We cannot separate it from a modern wolf, a Pleistocene wolf (the ice age) or a dog. One reason it would be difficult is that this is just from that time of divergence. So it could be a very old modern wolf, a very old dog, or a late Pleistocene wolf, ”added Dalén, who is a professor of evolutionary genetics.

The canine was very well preserved thanks to the permafrost

It was found in a remote area of ​​northeast Siberia, and is still in Russia, while these researchers are investigating a rib bone in Sweden. The dog is so well preserved because it was found in a tunnel dug in the permafrost. Scientists claim that this discovery could “contribute to something that has been a huge debate in our field for a long time.”

Russian scientists named the puppy Dogor

On November 25, the Swedish Paleogeneric Center announced on Twitter: “Analysis of its genome shows that it is a male. So we asked our Russian colleagues to name it, and this is Dogor. It is a word in the Sakha language that means “friend”, which seems very appropriate to us. ”

And now we wait impatiently for the results of the other tests

Dr. Sergey Fedorov, an expert on ancient canines said: “We have the largest canine DNA bank in the world in Europe, but in this case, we were unable to identify it on the first attempt. This is intriguing. What if it’s a dog? We are looking forward to seeing the results of the other tests. ” About the frozen cub, he said it was “incredible to see, touch and feel the history of Earth.”

This puppy has been lying underground, in the same posture and in the same conditions for 18,000 years

“This cub has been lying underground, in the same posture and in the same conditions for 18,000 years, without being disturbed at all. I removed the dirt and other debris attached to his body very carefully and step by step, showing a coat in wonderful conditions, which is extremely rare in animals of that period. The only negative is that part of the spine was exposed, revealing its ribs, “said the Russian scientist

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