Mummified Puppy May Unlock The Secrets Of Our Greatest Friendship

Scientists in northeast Russia have found the mummified remains of an ancient puppy that might be 12,400 years old, again.

Back in 2011 another Russian pup, estimated to be of the same age, was unearthed and its body nearly unscathed. Named Tumat Dog after her discoverers’ village, the pup was so perfectly preserved that examiners were able to recover her last meal (described as “dense matter,” be creative).

Tumat Dog's autopsy
Tumat Dog’s autopsy

At the time, Tumat Dog was the world’s first completely preserved dog carcass, a uniquely mysterious find of surviving skin, wool and internal organs. Her tissues showed no signs of post-mortem decomposition.

Tumat Dog–found on the Syallakh River in the Ust-Yana region of Yakutia
Tumat Dog–found on the Syallakh River in the Ust-Yana region of Yakutia

It is believed that the newly discovered puppy, named Pleistocene for the era during which she lived, could be from Tumat Dog’s same litter. They were both found within 26 feet and five years of each other, and are estimated to have been three months old when they died in a landslide.

Pleistocene– found in the Ust-Yansky district of Russia
Pleistocene– found in the Ust-Yansky district of Russia

Tumat Dog received her official autopsy this April, after four years of analyzation. The experts who carried it out at the Institute of Medicine in Yakustk, Russia said the study would be a “great help” in the research of the ancient species. Other scientists said Tumat Dog would help chart the ancestry to her domesticated descendants.

Dr Mietje Germonpre
Dr Mietje Germonpre

Dr. Mietje Germanpre from the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences was one of the specialists who visited Tumat Dog’s remains.


“There are two main theories,” she says, “the first is that dogs arrived near sites where humans lived and picked up the scraps and gradually they co-existed. The second version talks about the active involvement of man, where the people themselves were the initiator of the relationship, and brought the puppies to their home and trained them.”

“The data that I have accumulated speaks in favour of the latter theory. Now we can get more arguments.”

Tumat Dog's teeth
Tumat Dog’s teeth

Aleksandr Kandiba, one of the scientists on Pleistocene’s case, said, “We have taken remains and artifacts from the site and will conduct additional research in our laboratories.” We are looking forward to the results they find.

Featured Image via: Archaeology Wiki

Sources: Siberian Times, Daily Mail UK, Yakutia Today.

Greyceli Marin

6 years ago

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