Preserved Ice Age Puppy apparently remained a woolly rhino before it died

When a team of Russian researchers analyzed the remains of a preserved 14,000-year-old puppy, they saw an unusual patch of fur in the abdomen. After a few mitochondrial DNA reference checks, the team was surprised that the fur belonged to a woolly rhinoceros – ‘an almost perfect match.’

The puppy was discovered in 2011 in Tumut, Siberia. Preserved with its fur intact, the small body of the dogs looks like a dog like a wolf.

In Siberia, other teams of researchers have also discovered well-preserved caves (Panthera spelea) with yellow fur. Initially, the team assumed that the patch of fur consumed by the puppy confirmed the remains of a puppy for having the same color until their results were otherwise confirmed.

Scientists from the Natural History Museum of Stockholm confirmed that the colored DNA was far from the cave lion, evolutionary geneticist Love Dalen. He had also worked with the team that discovered the cave lion cubs Spartak and Borris from about 43,000 years ago.

Woolly Rhinos

“It’s completely unusual. I’m not aware of a frozen, ice age carnivore where they have found pieces of tissue inside,” Dalen said. De hairy tissue sample was radiocarbon-dated and was confirmed to be about 14,400 years old.

They also have the puppy radiocarbon-dated over 14,000, roughly the same time that woolly rhinoceros became extinct. “So potentially this puppy has eaten one of the last remaining woolly rhinos,” Dalen explained.

During the Pliocene and Pleistocene, from more than five million to 11,000 years ago, woolly rhinos roamed Asia, North Africa, and parts of Europe. They were roughly the same size as modern rhinos with two horns and thick fur.

They bloomed in grassland and were seen in the Stone Age in various paintings and sculptures. Further evidence also showed that the decline of their population was not because of hunting by humans, but rather, of sudden climate changes in the Bølling-Allerød Interstadial (Greenlandic Interstadial) – a short warm and humid period for the last glacial period. By the last ice age, they were completely extinct.

Several frozen woolly rhino carcasses were discovered in Siberia, while others were found in oil soaps in Central Europe. The oldest woolly rhino was discovered on the Tibetan Plateau and was found to be more than three million years old.

Science Times - Ice Age Puppy apparently in Woolly Rhino

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

READ MORE: Cave Lions and Lions of modern day are separate species

Mysterious death

The team remains unsure how the little rooster ate a piece of the ancient rhino, and the deaths of both creatures remain mysterious. Due to its massive size, it was unlikely that the puppy would attack or kill the woolly rhino.

Dalen also shared that the hairy tissue was not fed properly, suggesting that the puppy died shortly after eating some woolly rhino. He speculated that an adult wolf – that is, assuming the puppy is a wolf – ate the rhino and left something for his puppies. Perhaps, the puppy crossed paths with a dead baby rhino and was attacked and killed by the mother rhino.

LAST FOLLOW: Last meal of an enormous 110 million year old Armor-plated Dinosaur discovered in its ‘exceptionally preserved’ form

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