Is frozen 18,000-year-old puppy missing link between wolves and dogs?

year old puppy permafrost could be oldest dog in the world dde a cc
Image: Sergey Fedorov

An 18,000-year-old puppy unearthed in Siberia could prove to be the missing link between dogs and wolves, scientists believe.

The puppy was discovered perfectly preserved by permafrost near Yakutsk, eastern Siberia last summer and carbon dating has revealed it has been frozen for around 18,000 years.

Researchers at the Centre for Palaeogenetics in Stockholm, Sweden announced this week that extensive DNA tests have so far been unable to confirm whether the animal was a dog or a wolf.

The experts believe this may be because the canine comes from the period when dogs were domesticated and hope the creature will prove crucial to uncovering when exactly the evolution began.

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“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,” [said researcher David Stanton.]

[Researchers] have named the puppy ‘Dogor’. The name means “friend” in Yakutian – as well as referencing the question “dog or wolf?”

The scientists hope that further genome data tests on the creature will reveal more about Dogor’s origins.

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