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This Pup Is 18K Years Old

But it's not clear whether it's a dog or wolf that was found in Siberian permafrost
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2019 12:12 PM CST
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This is a handout photo shows an 18,000-year-old pup in permafrost in the Russia's Far East.   (Sergei Fyodorov, Yakutsk Mammoth Museum via AP)
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(Newser) – Daww. Melting permafrost in Siberia has revealed a well-preserved pup who was born about 18,000 years ago. In fact, the little guy still has his teeth, limbs, nose, whiskers, and eyelashes, reports the Siberian Times. The big question still unanswered: whether he's a dog or a wolf. The prevailing school of thought is that dogs split from wolves about 40,000 years ago, reports LiveScience, meaning he could be either one, or perhaps a hybrid. Further testing now underway might answer the question. What scientists do know is that the pup they named Dogor ("friend") still has his milk teeth, making him less than 2 months old at the time of death. One good thing: Dogor doesn't appear to have been in stress when he died.

“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," says Love Dalen of the Stockholm-based Center for Palaeogenetics, per the AP. The oldest known fossil of a domesticated dog dates back 14,700 years. "This is intriguing," says another researcher, Sergey Fedorov. "We can’t wait to get results from further tests." (Melting permafrost in Russia's Far East is also turning up well-preserved woolly mammoths.)

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