Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Nation & World

Russian scientists present ancient puppy found in permafrost

The puppy, believed to be 18,000 years old, is unusually well-preserved, with its hair, teeth, whiskers and eyelashes still intact.
This is a handout photo taken on Sept. 24, 2018, showing a 18,000 years old Puppy found in permafrost in the Russia's Far East, on display  at the Yakutsk's Mammoth Museum, Russia. Russian scientists have presented a unique prehistoric canine, believed to be 18,000 years old and found in permafrost in the Russia's Far East, to the public on Monday. (Sergei Fyodorov, Yakutsk Mammoth Museum via AP) [SERGEI FYODOROV  |  AP]
This is a handout photo taken on Sept. 24, 2018, showing a 18,000 years old Puppy found in permafrost in the Russia's Far East, on display at the Yakutsk's Mammoth Museum, Russia. Russian scientists have presented a unique prehistoric canine, believed to be 18,000 years old and found in permafrost in the Russia's Far East, to the public on Monday. (Sergei Fyodorov, Yakutsk Mammoth Museum via AP) [SERGEI FYODOROV | AP]
Published Dec. 2, 2019

YAKUTSK, Russia — Russian scientists on Monday showed off a prehistoric puppy, believed to be 18,000 years old, found in permafrost in the country’s Far East.

Discovered last year in a lump of frozen mud near the city of Yakutsk, the puppy is unusually well-preserved, with its hair, teeth, whiskers and eyelashes still intact.

“This puppy has all its limbs, pelage – fur, even whiskers. The nose is visible. There are teeth. We can determine due to some data that it is a male,” Nikolai Androsov, director of the Northern World private museum where the remains are stored, said at the presentation at the Yakutsk’s Mammoth Museum which specializes in ancient specimens.

In recent years, Russia’s Far East has provided many riches for scientists studying the remains of ancient animals. As the permafrost melts, affected by climate change, more and more parts of woolly mammoths, canines and other prehistoric animals are being discovered. Often it is mammoth tusk hunters who discover them.

This is a handout photo taken on Sept. 24, 2018, showing a 18,000 years old Puppy found in permafrost in the Russia's Far East, on display at the Yakutsk's Mammoth Museum, Russia. Russian scientists have presented a unique prehistoric canine, believed to be 18,000 years old and found in permafrost in the Russia's Far East, to the public on Monday. (Sergei Fyodorov, Yakutsk Mammoth Museum via AP) [SERGEI FYODOROV | AP]

“Why has Yakutia come through a real spate of such unique findings over the last decade? First, it’s global warming. It really exists, we feel it, and local people feel it strongly. Winter comes later, spring comes earlier,” Sergei Fyodorov, scientist with the North Eastern Federal University, told The Associated Press.

“And the second very serious, deep reason, of why there a lot of finds is the very high price of mammoth tusk in the Chinese market.”

When the puppy was discovered, scientists from the Stockholm-based Center for Palaeogenetics took a piece of bone to study its DNA.

“The first step was of course to send the sample to radio carbon dating to see how old it was and when we got the results back it turned out that it was roughly 18,000 years old,” Love Dalén, professor of evolutionary genetics at the center, said in an online interview.

Further tests, however, left the scientists with more questions than answers — they couldn’t definitively tell whether it was a dog or a wolf.

“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,” Dalén said.

He added that the scientists are about to do a third round of genome sequencing, which might solve the mystery.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

  1. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., participates in a panel during a campaign event for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, in Clive, Iowa. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
  2. Inter Milan's Christian Eriksen controls the ball during an Europa League, round of 32, first leg, soccer match between PFC Ludogorets Razgrad and Inter Milan at Huvepharma Arena in Razgrad, Bulgaria, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
  3. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, with his wife Jane, speaks during a campaign event in San Antonio, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
  4. Jessica Boomershine, 42, was charged with escape and vandalism following the episode late last month, according to the Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office in Ohio.
  5. This undated file photo provided by Group 3 Aviation shows helicopter pilot Ara Zobayan standing outside a helicopter, at a location not provided. Zobayan violated federal flight rules in 2015 when he flew into busy airspace near Los Angeles International Airport despite being ordered not to by air traffic control, according to records from the Federal Aviation Administration obtained by the Los Angeles Times. (Group 3 Aviation via AP, File)
  6. This June 13, 2016 file photo shows Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents in Florida. On Friday, the FBI arrested U.S. federal narcotics agent Jose Irizarry and his wife, Nathalia Gomez Irizarry, at their residence in Puerto Rico, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the arrest. He has been charged with conspiring to launder money with the very same Colombian drug cartels he was supposed to be fighting. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP, File)
  7. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas.
  8. Harvey Weinstein leaves the courthouse during jury deliberations in his rape trial, Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, in New York.
  9. Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg speaks to supporters during his visit in Greensboro, N.C., on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020.
  10. FILE - In this June 28, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump, right, shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan. Intelligence officials say Russia is interfering with the 2020 election to try to help Trump get reelected, The New York Times reported Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
  11. FILE - This Jan. 9, 2020 file photo released by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shows Jonathan Watson. Watson has confessed that he beat two child molesters to death with a cane while behind bars and says his urgent warning to a counselor that he might become violent was ignored. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via AP,File)
  12. Roger Stone accompanied by his wife Nydia Stone, left, arrives for his sentencing at U.S. District Court in Washington, Thursday. Stone, a staunch ally of President Donald Trump, faces sentencing Thursday on his convictions for witness tampering and lying to Congress. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement