Saturday, September 15, 2018

Ancient Wolf DNA Could Solve Dog Origin Mystery


Scientists found a fossil of an ancient wolf laying in the tundra of Siberia's Taimyr Peninsula. Genetic testing was done on a bone from Taimyr wolf and although the wolf has been extinct 35,000 years ago, the same DNA has been found in Arctic sled dogs that we know today, such as the Siberian Husky. "Siberian Huskies have a portion of their genome that traces back exclusively to this ancient Siberian wolf" Skoglund told Live Science. It is crazy to think Siberian Husky's can still have such a close relation after 35,000 years. Other dog breeds have also shown this gene. Breeds this gene was found in is the Greenland dogs, Chinese Shar-Pie, and Finnish spitz. It is not yet known that this gene does yet.

Since the finding of this ancient wolf the view that dogs descended from gray wolves have changed. By studying the genetics of the ancient wolf, wolves and domestic dogs share a common ancestor but do not have a direct lineage. The Taimyr wolf shows that wolves and dogs split around the time of the Taimyr wolf. There is more research to be done since it is believed there were previous prehistoric wolves that were common ancestors to the gray wolf, Taimyr wolf and dogs. Scientist believe this because the Taimyr wolf diverged from the wolf family tree around the same time gray wolves and dogs split. Although the puzzle is not yet solved the Taimyr wolf gives a huge jump to finding the prehistoric wolf species that began it all. My favorite animal is the wolf and my favorite dog breed is a Siberian husky, so reading and learning about their history and how the huskies have DNA from an ancient wolf is an interest to me. 
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