Mystery of 18,000-Year-Old ‘Puppy’ Found Frozen In Ice Solved By Scientists - With A Big Surprise

 In 2019, a remarkably well-preserved animal body was found frozen in ice in Siberia. Estimated to be around 18,000 years old, the body belonged to either a young dog or a wolf. Scientists Love Dalen and Dave Stanton analyzed the animal, but were unable to confirm its origins. The animal, named Dogor, had a full set of teeth, a furry coat, and a bald patch on its ribcage.

The Mystery of Dogor's Origins

The excellent preservation of Dogor's body provided a unique opportunity to study the animal and potentially discover new information about the history of dogs. After the scientists released pictures of Dogor on social media, the animal quickly went viral. Dalen, a professor of evolutionary genetics, described the experience of holding the animal as "pretty special" and noted that it felt like a recently deceased animal, despite being tens of thousands of years old.

The Discovery of Dogor's True Origins

However, it wasn't until recently that researchers discovered the true origins of Dogor. In an effort to understand the history of dog domestication, scientists studied Dogor's genome alongside the genomes of 72 ancient wolves. The researchers discovered that Dogor was, in fact, a wolf and not closely related to the earliest dogs. This discovery sheds new light on the process of dog domestication and highlights the importance of genetic research in understanding the history of animals.

The Mystery of Dog Domestication

Despite the researchers' discovery that Dogor was a wolf, many mysteries still surround the domestication of dogs. Anders Bergström, a postdoctoral fellow in ancient genomics at the Francis Crick Institute in London, notes that while dogs were the first animal to be domesticated during the ice age, many aspects of their domestication remain unknown. Researchers do not know where in the world domestication occurred, which human group was involved, or whether domestication happened once or multiple times.

Insights from Dogor's Genome

The study of Dogor's genome also provided new insights into the history of ancient wolves. The researchers found that dogs are more closely related to ancient wolves from eastern Eurasia than to ancient wolves from western Eurasia. However, determining the exact time when wolves became dogs is difficult, as the genes of modern wolves have changed significantly over time.

The Importance of Genetic Research

Overall, the discovery of Dogor's true origins highlights the importance of genetic research in understanding the history of animals. While the animal was initially thought to be a young dog, its genome revealed that it was actually a wolf. Despite this, much remains unknown about the domestication of dogs and the role that humans played in this process. As researchers continue to study ancient animal genomes, they will hopefully uncover new information about the history of domesticated animals and their relationships to their wild counterparts.

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