The frozen animal from 14,000 years ago surprised the scientists when they found out that its final meal included some sort of hairy tissue. The genetic analysis revealed the hairy tissue actually belonged to a rhinoceros that could have been the last of its species when it was eaten by the canine.
A three month old canine (either a baby wolf or a dog) from 14,000 years ago was found in Siberia with his fur, heart, lungs and teeth intact. The frozen animal surprised the scientists when they found out that its final meal included some sort of hairy tissue. Upon researching further it turned out the hairy tissue actually was of a rhinoceros that could have been the last of its species while it was eaten by the canine.
This extinct species of rhinoceros i.e. woolly rhinoceros is said to have died out about 14,400 years ago. The scientists thought it was a cave lion rather than a rhinoceros but the genetic analysis confirmed the tissue belonged to an extinct specie (woolly rhinoceros).
"I am very happy that DNA analysis has confirmed this as a woolly rhino. I noticed that the shape of the skin was rather strange. It was rectangular. My experience of taxidermy shows that skin could not tear like this in a natural way, if it was bitten off by an animal, for example," Dr. Sergey Fedorov, from Russia's North-Eastern Federal University, said.
"It seems likely this piece of skin with such even edges was cut artificially by an ancient human. The puppy perhaps found the butchering waste of the carcass. When I saw this piece in its stomach, I was amazed. I thought it could be the trace of human activity," he added with amusement.
Professor Love Dalen, an expert in evolutionary genetics, was also amazed by the new discovery. "It's completely unheard of. I'm not aware of any frozen Ice Age carnivore where they have found pieces of tissue inside. This puppy, we know already, has been dated to roughly 14,000 years ago. We also know that the woolly rhinoceros (became) extinct 14,000 years ago. So, potentially, this puppy has eaten one of the last remaining woolly rhinos," he told.