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33,000-year-old canine DNA closely resembles modern dogs

A DNA sample taken from a 33,000-year-old canine skull found in Siberia has been found to be a closer match to a modern dog’s DNA than to a wolves.

The researchers then compared the genetic sequences from the Altai specimen with gene sequences from 72 modern dogs of 70 different breeds, 30 wolves, four coyotes and 35 prehistoric canid species from the Americas.

They found that the Altai canid is more closely related to modern domestic dogs than to modern wolves, as its skull shape had previously suggested. That means that the Altai canid was an ancient dog, not an ancient wolf — though it had likely diverged from the wolf line relatively recently, the researchers report today (March 6) in the journal PLOS ONE.

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Story: Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience | Photo: Ovodov ND, Crockford SJ, Kuzmin YV, Higham TFG, Hodgins GWL

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