World science is discussing a magnificent and at the same time provocative find - an almost perfect corpse of a puppy of an unknown animal was found in the permafrost near Yakutsk. The preservation of the remains is such that it is easy to confuse it simply with a sleeping animal, although the sample is already 18, 000 years old. And the more difficult it is to understand why scientists have not yet been able to determine who is in front of them: a dog, a wolf, or their common extinct ancestor.
It was found that the puppy died at the age of two months, for an unknown reason. He retained his teeth, hair, most of his body, even eyelashes and a sensitive covering of the nose. It is definitely a member of the Canidae family (canines), but without DNA analysis, scientists find it difficult to classify it. Moreover, chances are that the puppy belongs to exactly that unknown species, which should occupy the missing link in the evolution from the ancestors of wolves to the domestic dog.
Today it is known for sure that domestic dogs already existed 14, 000 years ago, and there are indications of several groups in Europe and Asia. And 40, 000 years ago, only the Pleistocene wolves lived on Earth, from which dogs and modern wolves later descended. The period of 20 thousand years remains empty, scientists have no data on the DNA of animals of this species that lived at that time.
The puppy, named Dogor, will be left in Russia, but first taken to Sweden for DNA testing. It is likely that he will turn out to be a young modern wolf or one of the last Pleistocene wolves. But if it turns out that this is a dog, not necessarily even domesticated, then Dogor will become the oldest dog in the world.