Oscar here. They say dog is man's best friend. But what if, in the not too distant past, wolf was actually man's best friend!?Whether you're confused or your mind is blown by this statement (either of which are very reasonable responses), let me take a step back and explain.
Whether or not you're a believer in global warming, there is evidence that it's happening in certain parts of the world. As something called the permafrost, or "any ground that remains completely frozen—32°F (0°C) or colder—for at least two years straight," begins to melt, objects, both human and otherwise begin to reveal themselves. The most recent discovery was of a perfectly frozen mammal that was either a dog or a wolf, in Siberia. Nicknamed Dogor or 'friend' in a Siberian language, this animal was nearly perfectly frozen in time. In fact, he still has fur, teeth, nose and whiskers all well preserved.
So why the species confusion? As mentioned above, since dogs and wolves share many overlapping biological markers, scientists are finding it quite difficult to differentiate one from the other. And in fact, the scientists who analyzed the pup/wolf said "the analysis also put Dogor’s short life at a particularly interesting period of time, right around when many wolf lineages were going extinct and dogs are thought to have emerged. Exactly how and when they evolved from wolves is unclear; one recent study estimates between 20,000 to 40,000 years ago."
Bottom line, man's best friend was probably a wolf way back when. And it's still unclear at what point the two species separated. But one thing's for sure—the world is melting and I for one can't wait to see what it reveals next.
Til next time,