The frozen wilds of Russia are full of exceptional specimens of long lost creatures. From mammoths and foals to even roundworms, animals that died thousands of years ago were frozen in ice or its permafrost soil in amazing condition. The latest example of this? A young pup.
This Siberian puppy has fur, whiskers, claws, teeth... you name it. It looks as though it could have passed away only yesterday. But its realistic condition doesn't help solve its biggest mystery.
What is it?
Dogor, the mystery pup
Well that's easy, you say. It's a dog.
But is it really? While the animal is preserved in incredible condition, it is not immediately obvious whether this is a wolf or a dog.
Genome analyses shows it's a male. So we asked our Russian colleagues to name it...
Thus, the name of the puppy is Dogor!
Dogor is a Yakutian word for "friend", which seems very suitable. pic.twitter.com/epIz8mEpVW
— Centre for Palaeogenetics (@CpgSthlm) November 25, 2019
Even early DNA testing of its ribs has failed to give scientists a conclusion. But maybe there's a good reason why identifying Dogor is so doggone hard. Maybe it is from a time when dogs first became dogs.
The Age of Dogs
Modern dogs are their own species. In fact, the interaction of man has led to a seemingly endless collection of different breeds. But at one point in history, dogs were started thanks to humans domesticating wolves. They took wolves into their midst, taught and trained them, and raised their puppies among their own families. Just as we do today with our pets.
No one knows exactly when this happened — and no one is saying that this Siberian puppy is the world's first pet dog either! But it could come from a time when humans were still just learning how to have pets. And when the dogs that people had were basically just tamed wolves!
Scientists are going to do further genome testing to see if they can get an answer. But until then...
Dogor. Dog or... wolf? Either way, we're grateful for how its ancestors turned out!