18,000-year-old puppy found in permafrost with whiskers and teeth


Scientists unveiled a prehistoric puppy Monday that was found in permafrost in Russia, which is believed to be 18,000 years old, AP reported.

The well-preserved puppy that is baffling scientists was shown off at the Yakutsk’s Mammoth Museum, which specializes in ancient specimens.

"This puppy has all its limbs, pelage — fur, even whiskers. The nose is visible. There are teeth. We can determine due to some data that it is a male," Nikolai Androsov, director of the Northern World private museum where the remains are stored, said at the presentation per AP.

After it was found last year in a lump of frozen mud, scientists took a sample of the puppy's bone to study its DNA.

Tests showed the puppy to be roughly 18,000 years old, but further tests led researchers to more questions.

"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," Love Dalén, professor of evolutionary genetics at the center, said.

The scientists are set to do a third round of genome sequencing, which they hope will solve the mystery, he added.

Sergei Fyodorov, a scientist with the North Eastern Federal University, told AP that the puppy being discovered now is no accident. Climate change has played a huge role in some of the recent discoveries of woolly mammoths, canines and other prehistoric animals in the region, he claimed.

"It really exists, we feel it, and local people feel it strongly. Winter comes later, spring comes earlier," he said.