Puppy from 14,000 years ago frozen in ice with slice of extinct rhino in stomachn in ice with slice of extinct rhino in stomach
The young creature, officially known as a prehistoriccanine, was either a dog or a type of wolf and had twigs and hairy tissue in its stomach thanks to its final meal
A 14,000-year-old puppy was found frozen in time with a slice of extinct woolly rhinoceros in its stomach.
The young creature, officially known as a prehistoriccanine, was either a dog or a wolf and had hairy tissue in its stomach thanks to its final meal.
Genetic analysis by Stockholm’s Natural History Museum earlier confirmed the hairy skin inside the canine was woolly rhino and not – as suspected – cave lion.
At 14,400 years old, it means the mummified puppy ate one of the last animals from a species which died out around this time.
Dr Sergey Fedorov, from Russia’s North-Eastern Federal University, said: “I am very happy that DNA analysis has confirmed thisas a woolly rhino.
My experience of taxidermy shows that skin could not tear like this in a natural way, if it was bitten off by an animal, for example.
“It seems likely this piece of skin with such even edges was cut artificially by an ancient human.
“The puppy perhaps found the butchering waste of the carcass.
The puppy was famously found at Tumat, in the Sakha Republic of Siberia, in 2011.
Since then a second frozen puppy was found nearby and its stomach is now to be examined closely.
Professor Love Dalen, an expert in evolutionary genetics at the Centre for Palaeogenetics, a joint venture between Stockholm University and the Swedish Museum of Natural History, earlier explained how scientists revealed the puppy’s last meal had been rhino.
“We have a reference database and mitochondrial DNA from all mammals, so we checked the sequence data against that and the results that came back — it was an almost perfect match for woolly rhinoceros,” he told CNN.
“It’s completely unheard of.
“I’m not aware of any frozen Ice Age carnivore where they have found pieces of tissue inside.”
He said: “This puppy, we know already, has been dated to roughly 14,000 years ago.
“We also know that the woolly rhinoceros (became) extinct 14,000 years ago.
“So, potentially, this puppy has eaten one of the last remaining woolly rhinos.”
This puppy must have died very shortly after eating the rhino, because it’s not very digested,” he said.
“We don’t know if it was a wolf, but if it was a wolf cub, maybe it came across a baby rhino that was dead, or the (adult) wolf ate the baby rhino.
“Maybe as they were eating it, the mother rhino had her revenge.”