Scientists in the Russian Far East have discovered the remains of the first mummified dog ever found. The remains are believed to belong to a three-month-old female who roamed the earth 12,450 years ago.
The remains were first discovered in 2011 by brothers Yury and Igor Gorokhov – about 42 kilometers from their home in the village of Tumat. The two were looking for mammoth tusks when they stumbled upon the ancient remains.
The body was found perfectly preserved and sealed inside permafrost. Experts have spent the last four years studying the body, which not only included bones, but also a heart, stomach and lungs.
While the remains have been under investigation for some time, the autopsy was just recently carried out in April.
The procedure took place at the Institute of Medicine within the North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk.
It is believed that the dog, now named Tumat (after the village it was found in), may have died in a landslide at the water’s edge. The theory comes from two pieces of twig found inside of the dog’s stomach. Scientists believe the puppy may have fallen from the landslide and attempted to grab onto nearby branches with her mouth.
The rare discovery has captured the interest of scientists from all over the world. Specialists from Belgium, Canada, and Germany have all traveled the distance to examine Tumat’s remains.
Dr Mietje Germonpre, from the palaeontology department of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, shared her interest by stating, “It’s amazing. In other museums around the world you will only find the remains of adult dogs, but this is a puppy. Also all external signs and scan results indicate that it is a primitive dog, and at the moment it is the most ancient one found in northern Siberia.”
Germonpre, along with other scientists, hope Tumat’s remains will further connect the dots to the four-pawed puppers we know and love today.
Feature image via The Siberian Times