- Researchers studying a wild dog species have found that it closely matches the DNA of a species that is thought to be extinct.
- Matching DNA and other factors led scientists to conclude that dogs are indeed the same species.
- Dogs can sing, although it is unclear what kind of music they prefer.
I’ve never heard of singing dogs and probably neither have you. This is likely because they were thought to have become extinct in their native New Guinea about half a century ago. It’s a shame, but as it turns out, dogs may still exist, just in a slightly different form.
New Guinea singing dogs still exist in captivity, but their numbers are small. Crossbreeding was the only way to keep the species alive, which led to some interesting DNA quirks. Now, the researchers say that what was previously thought to be an entirely different species of wild canine in the region ̵
The research, which was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examined the DNA of wild highland dogs and compared it to the DNA of known singing dogs. When they analyzed the data they found that the two “separate” species actually shared 70% of their DNA.
Now, a 30% difference in DNA is certainly enough to declare two separate species, but the researchers who conducted the study believe the big difference in DNA is actually due to the fact that the dogs that sing are largely purebred. . If it’s accurate, it means that singing dogs never went extinct, which is incredible news.
“This is the first study in wild highland dogs to be conducted using nuclear DNA, the gold standard for studies like this, which makes it very special,” Elaine Ostrander, co-author of the study, told the website. Tree hugger. “The study also fills some missing gaps in understanding the complex relationship between highland wild dogs, dingoes and New Guinea singing dogs in conservation centers. The study findings provide conservation biologists with a means to move forward with additional studies and as they think about how to restore variation in the conservation population of New Guinea singing dogs. “
But it’s not just the DNA that’s a match. Highland canines produce “singing” calls similar to those of dogs that were thought to be extinct. They also look remarkably similar, which has led to this new round of research.
So it appears that singing dogs have come back from the dead, in a way, or at least are incredibly closely related to New Guinea singing dogs that are actually the same species. Moving forward, the scientists plan to further examine the genes of the Highland dogs to see if they can pinpoint where their propensity for singing comes from.