A 12,400 old pup found frozen in permafrost in Tumat, Siberia, is so well-preserved that scientists are hopeful cloning it may be possible.
Despite a whole movie franchise dedicated to why cloning prehistoric animals might not be the brightest of ideas, it is hard not to get excited over such a well-preserved specimen: the pup’s nose, teeth, tail, hair and paws are all clearly visible, and according to Russian expert Dr Pavel Nikolsky, research fellow of the Geological Institute, Moscow, the brain is extremely well-preserved as well.
“The degree of preservation is about 70 to 80 per cent,” Nikolsky told the Siberian Times. “We will be able to say more precisely after it is extracted. For now we can see it on MRI scans. Of course, it has dried out somewhat, but the both parencephalon, cerebellum and pituitary gland are visible. We can say that this is the first time we have obtained the brain of a Pleistocene canid.”
The remains of another ancient pup had previously been found in the same area, though not in the same pristine condition. It is thought that both dogs died in a landslide, which sealed them in permafrost and thus allowed the remains to survive to this day. Traces of early human presence were found nearby, leading to the theory the pups may have been pets as opposed to wild animals. So hopefully, if ever cloned, they may be more inclined to guilt people for food rather than trying to take a bite out of them.
See below for the pup’s post-mortem, which freed him from the frozen mud he’s been encased into for 12,400 years.