In the summer of 2018 the small animal appeared in permafrost in Siberia, near the Indigirka River in northeastern Russia. And despite his 18,000 years, it has become very good in preservation, still wearing his hair, mustache, mouth, and nails. It is enough to give a clearer picture of the specimen than before it died.
However, doubts remain: Is Dogor, nicknamed by scientists, is he a dog, wolf or even some kind of transition between the two? After recent analyzes, the verdict is: this little boy, estimated to be less than two months old, is in fact a wolf (Canis lupus) and not a close relative of the first dogs.
“Our research reveals that Dogor is a wolf. He would have survived the end of the last ice age, so he could have been the ancestor of the many wolves that live today.“, explained Dr. Dave Stanton, researcher at Queen Mary University in London and co -author of the study published in late June in the journal NATURE.
72 wolf genomes were examined
This work is not just about the small Siberian specimen. The latter is part of a larger analysis done on 72 ancient genomes dating back 100,000 years from Europe, Siberia and North America. Goal: trace the history of wolves and better understand when they lived to give birth to dogs.
“We know that dogs were the first pets back in the Ice Age“About 15,000 years ago, it started LiveScience, Anders Bergström, researcher at the Francis Crick Institute in London and first author of the report. But when, how and where does this survival take place? This is the mystery that continues.
“We don’t know where or what happened. We don’t know what group of people was involved and we don’t know if it happened once or more.“, he confirmed. This is to further determine that researchers are interested in 66 ancient genomes-including Dogor’s-have not yet been followed along with the six that have already been studied.
The analysis shows that wolves evolved in the past Ice Age as genetically connected populations around the world. Connections that can be explained “probably due to the long movement of balloons in an open landscape“, note the scientists in their report.
A domestication scenario to be specified
However, more shocking results emerged in the wolf bond. The genomes show that dogs, ancient and modern, are genetically closer to ancient wolves in Asia than those in Europe, suggesting that breeding may have occurred somewhere in east Asia and not in Europe. .
Similarly, dogs from northeastern Europe, Siberia, and America show a shared origin from this eastern source. At the same time, however, dogs from the Middle East, Africa, and southern Europe show, in addition to this East Asian source, the origins associated with wolves in the Middle East.
These findings suggest that breeding occurred independently within eastern and western wolves, or that previously inhabited in Asia, the dogs migrated west and mixed with the local wolf population. The study of genomes does not provide sufficient indications for decision making.
Whatever the scenario, the event took place more than 7,200 years ago, which is equivalent to the age of the oldest dog known and discovered in the Middle East. A specimen showing eastern and western genetic traits. Analysis of new genomes can help clarify the survival scenario.
“Through this project, we significantly increased the number of ancient wolf genomes sequenced, allowing us to create a detailed picture of wolf ancestry over time, including time equivalent to those. origin of the dog.“, Anders Bergström concluded in a press release.
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