Calling all archeology nerds! Your love of ancient treasures and the animal kingdom have come together again. Deep in the permafrost, the discovery of a ancient puppy was found amazingly preserved after 12,400 years near Tumat, Sakha Republic! But the puppy isn’t the first mummified dog to be found in the area: The Tumat Dog is a three month old that was discovered in 2011. Dated to about the same era, it’s thought the two dogs could be from the same litter! That’s wild.
Both dogs are an ancient, extinct canine, but what makes the Tumat Puppy amazing is that it’s almost 80% preserved: including the brain. There’s a lot of buzz in the science world about it, because it’s the first Pleistocene canid brain we’ve run across! Running with Mammoths, saber-toothed tigers, and a little something you may be familiar with (migrating humans), not only are the two dogs thought to be related, but also domesticated.
The history of domesticated dogs gets a little dodgy as the time line reaches back. But a point that scientists seem to agree that on is that it started about 15,000 years ago. Not too far, in the grand scheme of things, to the Tumat pups. This January, a who’s-who of canine scientists was assembled like the Avengers: their mission to dig deeper into the DNA map of ancient dogs. It used to be thought that humans began training wolves, eventually breeding them into companions. But now, scientists chock it up to Mother Nature. Because wolves aren’t exactly the easiest to get along with. Can you image training a Dire Wolf?
The new find of this little Tumat Puppy is posing a lot of interesting questions, including that of cloning. Professor Hwang Woo-Suk has his paws in the mix, but the new remains also open up an opportunity to find ancient fleas, ticks, and maybe other insects that lived with the puppies from 12,400 years ago!
If you’re interested in seeing some of the Tumat Puppy’s autopsy, the Siberian Times has you covered (dog walker).