Wednesday 30 March 2016

12,000 year old Ice Age puppies could be first evidence of domesticated dogs

MARCH 28, 2016

by Brett Smith

Researchers working in northeast Russia were recently able to recover the fully-intact remains of two puppies that sat preserved in ice for 12,460 years.

According to a report from the Agence-France Presse, the puppies could shed light in the history of dog domestication as they may have been owned by local cavemen.

"To find a carnivorous mammal intact with skin, fur and internal organs -- this has never happened before in history," Sergei Fyodorov, head of exhibitions at the Mammoth Museum of the North-Eastern Federal University, told the AFP.

Finding prehistoric puppies
When the hunters came across the first frozen puppy in 2011, they alerted Fyodorov who quickly flew over to the distant Russian Arctic region of Yakutia, located approximately 2,900 miles from Moscow.

Last year, he returned for a more comprehensive examination and discovered the second puppy near the same spot. Both dogs passed away when they were approximately three months old and they probably come from the same litter, Fyodorov said.

Last week, the Russian scientist oversaw the removing of the second puppy's amazingly well-preserved brain.

"Puppies are very rare, because they have thin bones and delicate skulls," he said.

Fyodorov said an initial check of mammoth remains also discovered at the dig indicated some had been butchered and burned, a sign of humans. However, the scientists said they weren't sure if the puppies were domesticated or wild. Sequencing the genomes, which will take a year, should reveal the answer.

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