I enjoyed a recent Washington Post article about an 18,000-year-old puppy who might be a missing link between wolves and dogs.
The dog, actually a young puppy, was perfectly preserved in Siberian permafrost for 18,000 years. He’s so well preserved that his fur and teeth are intact!
Researchers first assumed that “Dogor,” a name recently given to the puppy, was a young wolf. Now, they’re not sure. They are sequencing his genome, but they are considering the idea that Dogor is neither dog nor wolf. Dogor might truly be a missing link, an actual example of a proto-dog from the still-mysterious period when many ancient wolf species were dying out and dogs were becoming domesticated.
There’s still a lot we don’t know about how dogs came to be. It’s likely that domestic dogs evolved in several different areas of the world at different times.
Little Dogor might teach us a lot about the evolution of dogs in Russia and about the early relationship between dogs and humans. It’s an exciting find, and I am looking forward to learning more about this ancient puppy.