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Russian scientists have performed an autopsy on the oldest dog mummy in the world, found within a permafrost in Siberia and a 12,450 years old.
The dog, believed to be a three-month-old female, was unearthed in 2011 in the Yakutia region, within the Republic of Sajá. Experts have spent the past four years analyzing the body, not just the bones but also the heart, lungs, and stomach. The last autopsy performed, in April at the University Institute of Medicine in Yakutsk, yielded results that the researchers found very beneficial for studying dog species in the past. The study could test whether the animal is an ancestor of modern domestic dogs.
The mummified dog was found by brothers Yury and Igor Gorokhov 42 kilometers from their home in the city of Tumat, while they were looking for elephant tusks. The animal, named Tumat after the town where it was found, is believed to have died 12,450 years ago.
Since 2011, scientists from various countries including specialists from Belgium, Canada or Germany, they have been working with the remains. In August 2014, Mietje Germonpre, from the department of paleontology at the Natural Institute of Natural Sciences, traveled to Yakutsk to view the remains and stated: “After having studied the mummy and looking at the measurements of the skull that belonged to wolves and dogs in past, I can say that this discovery is unique, it is incredible. In other museums around the world you can find remains of adult dogs but not a puppy. All signs indicate that it is a primitive dog, the oldest found in northern Siberia.
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This puppy may have been one of the first domestic dogs to live with people in Central Asia.. Two theories are being considered, according to Dr. Germonpre: “The first is that the dogs came to places where humans lived and little by little they began to live together and the second version is that humans were the ones who started the relationship with dogs and they brought the puppies home to train them. The data we have collected so far speaks in favor of the second theory. Now, from this discovery, we can collect more information.
What most intrigues researchers are the two twigs found in the puppy's stomach. One theory is that the cub fell off a cliff while trying to grab some plants with his mouth. A more detailed examination of the stomach will take place in the fall.
Sergey Fedorov, director of the project, stated that where the dog's remains were found there were objects that belonged to humans and that in summer the investigations with archaeologists in the place will continue.
Via Siberian Times.