Russian scientists showed a prehistoric puppy that is believed to be 18,000 years old that was found in the permafrost at the east end of the country.
Discovered last year in a piece of frozen mud near the city of Yakutsk, the puppy is unusually well preserved with its hair, teeth, mustaches and eyelashes still intact.
"This puppy has all its limbs, bare skin, 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 private museum of the Northern World where the remains They are stored, he said in the presentation at the Yakutsk Mammoth Museum, which specializes in ancient specimens.
In recent years, the far east of Russia has provided much wealth to scientists studying the remains of ancient animals. As permafrost melts, affected by climate change, more and more parts of woolly mammoths, canines and other prehistoric animals are discovered. Often it is the mammoth fang hunters who discover them.
"Why has Yakutia gone through a real series of such unique finds in the last decade? First, it is global warming. It really exists, we are sorry and the local people feel it strongly. Winter comes later, spring arrives before, "said Sergei Fyodorov. , a scientist at the Federal University of the Northeast, told The Associated Press.
"And the second very serious reason why there are many findings is the high price of the mammoth fang in the Chinese market."
When the puppy was discovered, scientists at the Stockholm-based Paleogenetic Center took a piece of bone to study their DNA.
"The first step was, of course, to send the sample to radiocarbon dating to see how old it was and when we got the results, it turned out that it was approximately 18,000 years old," said Love Dalen, professor of evolutionary genetics at the center, said in An online interview.
However, other tests left scientists with more questions than answers: they could not say definitively if it was a dog or a wolf.
"Now we have generated an almost complete genomic sequence from it and normally when you have a double coverage genome, which is what we have, you should be able to say with relative ease if it is a dog or a wolf, but we can still not say it and that makes it even more interesting, "said Dalen.
He added that scientists are about to do a third round of genome sequencing, which could solve the mystery.