Archaeologists have unearthed an incredibly well-preserved puppy from the Siberian permafrost.
The little critter, which has since been named 'Dogor', walked on Earth some 18,000 years ago, towards the tail end of the Ice Age, and has posed some major questions for scientists studying the evolution of dogs and wolves.
Here's all you need to know about it.
Well preserved Dogor with intact fur, teeth, paws
Discovered near the Yakutsk city of eastern Siberia, Dogor is a specimen with an unreal level of preservation.
According to scientists from the Center for Palaeogenetics, it had been frozen in the permafrost for thousands of years, which left its nose, fur, padded paws, even teeth intact.
They were able to use its rib bone with radiocarbon dating to predict its time on Earth.
However, the puppy's DNA has raised intriguing questions
The team studying Dogor was able to extract its DNA and predict that the specimen was a male that died at the age of two.
However, while analyzing the DNA to define the species of the creature, the team got inconclusive results, as its genetic profile neither matched with that of an ancient dog nor with a wolf.
This led researchers to think it's a missing evolutionary link
The result has led the team to think that Dogor could be part of an evolutionary link that turned some ancient wolves into domesticated dogs.
"You'd expect to tell if it [Dogor] was one or the other," study researcher David Stanton said. "The fact that we can't might suggest that it's from a population that was ancestral to both—to dogs and wolves."
Divergence between dogs-wolves happened 20,000-40,000 years ago
Notably, some studies suggest that the divergence between ancient wild wolves and domesticated dogs happened sometime around 20,000 and 40,000 years ago.
The timeline loosely matches the time of Dogor on Earth, further supporting the missing evolutionary bridge theory.
However, scientists say they need to conduct more genetic tests to gather evidence to confirm or dismiss this possibility.