An ancient breed of singing dog that was believed to be extinct in the wild has been sighted in the wild for the first time in five decades. The animal is native to New Guinea.
It is believed that the singing dog of New Guinea, known for making harmonic sounds like a humpback whale, no longer lives in the wild for more than 50 years.
Only about 200 specimens of these extremely rare animals now live in conservation centers or zoos around the world. Now, researchers have found a pack of dogs they believe are from the original Population of New Guinea.
Scientists first saw a pack of wild dogs that resembled the New Guinea singing dog in the remote highlands of Papua, Indonesia, a few years ago.
According to research published in the journal PNAS, when they compared the DNA with singing dogs, they realized that they have very similar genomic sequences and that they are much more closely linked to each other than to any other canine.
However, their genomic sequences were not identical: the wild highland dogs had a 70% genetic overlap with the captive population.
Now, researchers hope it will be possible to breed some of the newly discovered wild dogs with the New Guinea singing dogs to help preserve the original breed.
“New guinea singing dogs are rare, they’re exotic they have this beautiful harmonic vocalization that you don’t find anywhere else in nature so losing that as a species is not a good thing. We don’t want to see this (animal) disappear,” Elaine Ostrander, one of the authors of the research said.