Well-preserved remains of a 12,400-year-old puppy from the extinct Pleistocene canid species have been discovered near the Tumat village in the Sakha Republic of Russia, according to the Siberian Times. Since the remains were found near evidence of human activity, scientists believe the puppy was an ancient pet — one of man's first best friends.
An autopsy of the puppy happened at Moscow's Geological Institute, and scientists found 70% to 80% of the brain to be well-preserved, according to Russian researcher Pavel Nikolsky. This is both the first brain of the species and "first predator's brain" to ever be discovered from the era, Nikolsky told the Siberian Times. The mummified carcass is also in top shape, with hair still on the paw.
South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk attended the autopsy and collected samples of the skin, muscles and ear cartilage for a potential cloning, the Siberian Times reported. Hwang is already known for wanting to clone woolly mammoths. He has a hand in building an animal cloning facility in China, which is set to hopefully open in 2016, according to the New York Times.
Scientists hope to also collect samples of bacteria and parasites from the puppy's intestines to learn more about the species, the Siberian Times reported.
A similar puppy was found in 2011 in the same location, but this little guy is better-preserved.