Could this be the oldest dog in history? Incredible photos of an 18,000-year-old puppy found frozen in ice in Siberia in 2018 circulate online. A pair of scientists from Stockholm, Sweden, who spent over a year examining the creature, shared the photos. They are, however, yet to determine if it’s a young wolf or a dog.
44-year-old Love Dalen and 34-year-old Dave Stanton explained that the animal nicknamed ‘Dogor’ existed before people started to domesticate dogs. The name was a pun ‘dog or wolf’. The pair discovered Dogor in a remote area a few hours away from the nearest town Belaya Gora.
When proven a dog, the scientists said it could become the ‘oldest confirmed dog.’ The discovery, they added, will also be helpful in research related to finding out more about wolf domestication. He is currently stored in Russia, while Dalen and Stanton took one of its ribs for examination in Sweden. “It was amazingly well preserved,” the pair said while noting that it feels as if it has just died very recently.
Stanton said that the animal is in such a good condition since it was discovered inside a tunnel buried into the permafrost. Radiocarbon dating, however, revealed that the dead animal was 18,000 years old. Aside from a bald patch on his rib-cage, Dogor has a fur coat and sports a complete set of teeth.
Is it a wolf or a dog?
The pair shared they initially assumed that what they found was a wolf. However, the first batch of genome test results can’t determine whether it’s a wolf or a dog. Dogor and Stalen said they could not dismiss the idea that it could be an early modern wolf, late Pleistocene wolf, or very early dog. One explanation they said is that it existed during the divergence time.
Photo credit: Kennedy News and Media