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Experts Studying The 14, 000-Year-Old Remains Of A Frozen Siberian Puppy Made A Genetic Breakthrough

A Shocking Discovery

Recently, scientists found the remains of a young puppy that had been stuck in the frozen Siberian permafrost for over 14,300 years. The scientists wanted to find out if it was a wild wolf or domesticated animal. Near where they found the puppy, they discovered animal bones that had been butchered. There were also signs of fire, which led them to believe that this was someone’s pet or work dog. The discovery mas made in 2015, about 25-miles from the Siberian village of Tumut. Because of the location of the find, the puppy became known as the Tumat puppy.

The reason the scientists were excavating in that area was that in 2011, they found another puppy. They also found evidence of human activity near this one. When they found the second puppy, they guessed that they were siblings, and they died together during a mudslide. According to the leader of the expedition, it took them no more of an hour of digging to find the puppy.

The 2011 Find

The first puppy was discovered by two brothers from Tumat, Igor and Yury Gorokhov, and their friend, Aiaal Tomasky. The men were scouring the banks of the Syallakh River, trying to find mammoth bones. When they found the remains of the dog, they knew that it had to be examined, so they called scientists from the North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk.

Examining the Find

When the scientists examined the puppy, they determined that it was around three months old when it dies, and it was a female. This was, at the time, the oldest mummified dog to ever be discovered. Over the years, other canine remains have been found, but none were in as good condition as this one. Mietje Germonpre, of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences paleontology department, heard about the find, and in 2014, she was permitted to study the puppy’s remains. She said that after studying it and taking measurements of the skill, she determined that it was very unique.

Primitive Dog

Mieje says that the external signs and the results of the scans indicated that ti was a primitive dog. It is also the oldest one ever to be found in northern Siberia. She says that people in her field go their whole careers without seeing something quite so fantastic. She also has two theories about how the relationship between humans and dogs first began. The first is that dogs arrived near where humans lived to pick up the scraps of food that they left behind, and eventually, they co-existed. Her second theory is that humans initiated the relationship, and brought them home to train them. She believes that the second theory is more plausible, and she hopes to prove her theory using the frozen puppy.

Studies Four Years Later

The scientists involved waited four years to perform a post mortem on the first Tumat dog that was found. It was carried out at the North-Eastern Federal University in April 2015. The scientists wanted to estimate the preservation of the ancient animal tissue. The animals’ carcass was preserved entirely, which was very unique. The tissue was mummified, but they hadn’t decomposed the way that most biological material does.

Heading Back

In 2015, the team wanted to go back to the site where the first dog was found. It wasn’t uncommon for people in that area to find things like arrowheads and stone tools. They hoped that they would find some traces of humans, particularly the owners of the dog. When they returned, they found signs of humans living there. They also found the second dog, just 6-feet away from where the first dog was found.

Perfect Condition

The second dog was found in perfect condition. It was completely preserved from the snout to the tail. Even the hair was preserved. They believe that it was the permafrost that kept the puppy intact. They had no idea that it was there, and in a very short time, they found it. The close proximity led the researchers to believe that the two puppies came from the same litter.

DNA Test

The initial DNA test on the 2011 Tumat puppy showed that it was a dog, not a wolf. When they found the second puppy, they wanted to examine it side by side with the other. A detailed autopsy was performed in March 2016, which determined that the second puppy’s brain was also well preserved. They say that it was about 70 to 80 percent preserved. The remains were washed so that the scientists could get a good look. The fur was still matted, but it could be recognized as a dog’s fur.


Experts studying the 14, 000-year-old remains of a frozen Siberian puppy made a genetic breakthrough. The team managed to extract material from the puppy’s liver, which was incredible. When they managed to retrieve RNA samples, it was a significant find. The team hopes to understand the evolutionary story of dogs and wolves.

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