The story behind man’s best friend is a primordial one. Some research suggests that all dogs can trace some of their lineage to southern East Asia some 33,000 years ago, according to Discovery News. Eventually canines spread their reach to the Middle East, then Africa, and later Europe.
Between 2011 and 2016, two awe-inspiring discoveries were made in Russia’s Yakutia region. A pair of puppies were found immaculately preserved in permafrost. Scientists from the North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk dated the puppies to around 12,450 years ago, and are performing autopsies on the specimens. Recently, they extracted the brain from the second puppy.
“We found this puppy in the same place where the first dog was found,” said Sergey Fedorov, of the North-Eastern Federal University, in a statement. “It was lying … two and half meters below. The tomography showed the presence of (a) well-preserved brain.”
On March 21, the team extracted the brain. Along with the dura mater, the brain complex was 11 g, and filled around 70 percent of the cranial cavity.
According to the university, these types of discoveries from mammoth predators are quite rare. In addition to the two puppies, two lion cubs and a wolverine have been found in Yakutia.
The team, according to Agence-France Presse, plans on comparing the preserved brain to those of modern dogs and wolves. The team also glimpsed the puppy’s stomach contents, which they reported were dominated by twigs and grass. Near where the puppies were found, the team found the remains of a mammoth, the body of which was butchered and burned, which suggests human activity.
“This material is really exceptional and unique,” said Royal Belgian Institute paleontologist Mietje Germonpre to the media outlet. Germonpre oversaw the autopsy. “The fact that soft tissue is preserved will give much more information compared to information that can be obtained from ‘normal’ fossils.”
The puppies have been named the Tumat dogs, the namesake being a village near the site of discovery. The first puppy’s discovery in 2011 is accredited to local residents of the region, while the second was uncovered in 2015 by a North-Eastern Federal University field team, according to the university.
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