The body of an almost perfectly preserved puppy, estimated to be 14,000 years old, has been discovered in Tumat (Тумат), Siberia.
The permafrost has preserved nose, fur and teeth and sufficient DNA to run tests. However, it seems that this pup may have been a proto-dog as it was not possible to distinguish domestic dog genes from wolf genes.
This is the second ancient pup found in Siberia recently after an 18,000 year old pup was found near Yakutsk (Якутск), in eastern Siberia. The scientists (aptly) named him Dogor – Yakutian for “friend”.
What makes the latest find remarkable is that a pelt-covered fragment of tissue was also preserved inside the puppy’s stomach. The yellow pelt initially suggested that it was a lion, but DNA tests proved it to be an almost perfect match for a woolly rhinoceros. This species became extinct at about the same time that the puppy ate it. The puppy died shortly afterward which is why the pelt had not been digested.
It remains a mystery as to what killed the woolly rhino and the puppy.