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Meet Dogor, the 18,000-year-old puppy

Dog or wolf?
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Dog or wolf?

The 18,000-year-old body of a near perfectly preserved puppy has left scientists puzzled.

Experts from Sweden's Centre for Palaeogenetics were able to confirm that the specimen had been frozen for around 18,000 years using carbon dating, but extensive DNA tests have so far been unable to show whether the animal was a dog or a wolf.

Meet Dogor
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Meet Dogor

Russian scientists discovered the body of the canine near Yakutsk, in eastern Siberia. Preserved by permafrost, the puppy's nose, fur and teeth are remarkably intact.

Scientists from the Center for Palaeogenetics said on Twitter that genome analysis had revealed that the puppy was male. They named the puppy Dogor -- meaning "friend" in Yakutian.

Oldest dog on record?
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Oldest dog on record?

The specimen could very well be an ancestral wolf. If it is a dog, however, it would likely represent the oldest in the archaeological record.

The current record holder is the Bonn-Oberkassel dog, dated to around 14,223 years old. The incomplete remains of this ancient domesticated dog were uncovered in a basalt quarry near Bonn, Germany in 1910.

Dogs as pets
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Dogs as pets

It is suspected that Dogor is from a time when dogs became domesticated, leading Mr Stanton to suggest he may be "halfway between" dogs and wolves.

More tests might also provide insight into exactly when dogs were domesticated.

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Twice domesticated
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Twice domesticated

A 2016 University of Oxford study, published in the journal Science, suggested that dogs were independently domesticated twice from gray wolves during the Paleolithic era, once in Asia and once in Europe.

Modern dogs are thought to have been domesticated from wolves, but exactly when is unclear -- in 2017, a study published in the journal Nature Communications found that modern dogs were domesticated from a single population of wolves 20,000 to 40,000 years ago.

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