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Either Way, a Good Pup

Even after initial genome sequencing, researchers cannot tell if an 18,000-year-old puppy found in Siberia is a dog or a wolf, the Associated Press reports.

The puppy — which was well preserved — was uncovered in permafrost near the city of Yakutsk, it adds. As LiveScience reports, the researchers sent off samples from the puppy, which they named Dogor, to University of Stockholm's Center for Paleogenetics for analysis.

They estimated the puppy to have lived about 18,000 years ago and that it was about two months old at the time of its demise, according to the AP. Dogs split from wolves about between 36,900 and 41,500 years ago, LiveScience notes, suggesting that Dogor could be a dog, a wolf, or even a transitional animal with traits of both. 

Stockholm's Love Dalén tells the AP that they have generated a two-fold coverage genome for Dogor, but still can't resolve whether it is a dog or a wolf. With their level of coverage, "you should be able to relatively easily say whether it's a dog or a wolf, but we still can't say and that makes it even more interesting," Dalén adds.