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An ancient breed of singing dogs is resurfacing in Indonesia after it was believed to be extinct for 50 years


The New Guinea singing dog, known for producing harmonious sounds with its tall crusts and howls, was believed to have only existed in captivity so far.

Scientists discovered a pack of these dogs roaming wild in the hills of Indonesia after the animals were believed to have died out in the wild 50 years ago.

The results were revealed after comparing the DNA of dogs observed in the wild in 2018 with those in captivity. It was found that the singing dog from New Guinea is the predecessor of the Highland Wild Dogs.

Prior to this study, New Guinea singing dogs were thought to be the rarest and oldest canine-like animal, but Highland Wild Dogs now bear the title.

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The New Guinea singing dog, known for producing harmonious sounds with its tall crusts and howls, was believed to have only existed in captivity so far. Scientists discovered a pack of these dogs roaming wild in the hills of Indonesia after the animals were believed to be extinct 50 years ago

The Singing Dog of New Guinea (NGSD) was first studied in 1897 and became known for its unique and distinctive vocalization, which experts describe as "wolf howls with overtones of whale song".

There are currently no more than 300 people living in conversation centers and have not lived in the wild since the 1970s as they have lost a large part of their genetic makeup due to extensive inbreeding.

Elaine Ostrander, Ph.D., NIH Distinguished Investigator and senior writer on the paper, said, "The New Guinea singing dog known today is a breed that was essentially human-made."

"Eight were brought to the US from the Highlands of New Guinea and bred together to create this group."

(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwxV1wbBrfU (/ embed)

The results were revealed after comparing the DNA of dogs observed in the wild in 2018 with those in captivity. It was found that the singing dog of New Guinea (pictured) is the predecessor of the Highland Wild Dogs

The results were revealed after comparing the DNA of dogs observed in the wild in 2018 with those in captivity. It was found that the singing dog of New Guinea (pictured) is the predecessor of the Highland Wild Dogs

In 2016, a team from the University of Papua traveled to Puncak Jaya, a mountain peak in Papua, Indonesia, where they discovered 15 Highland Wild Dogs (pictured) near the world's largest gold mine, which looked very similar to the NGSD

In 2016, a team from the University of Papua traveled to Puncak Jaya, a mountain peak in Papua, Indonesia, where they discovered 15 Highland Wild Dogs (pictured) near the world's largest gold mine, which looked very similar to the NGSD

For years, researchers speculated that NGSD was wiped out in the wild due to habitat loss and extensive domestic breeding.

In 2016, a team from the University of Papua traveled to Puncak Jaya, a mountain peak in Papua, Indonesia, where they discovered 15 Highland Wild Dogs near the world's largest gold mine, which looked very similar to the NGSD.

The team has taken more than 140 photos of the wild dogs, ranging in color from cream, ginger, and mold to black with white markings, to darker mold or black with a three-tone pattern.

The singing dog of New Guinea (pictured) was first studied in 1897 and became known for its unique and distinctive vocalization

The singing dog of New Guinea (pictured) was first studied in 1897 and became known for its unique and distinctive vocalization

The camera traps showed the presence of adults of both sexes, pregnant women, and puppies around three to five months of age.

The team returned in 2018 to collect blood samples from three dogs, as well as demographic, physiological, and behavioral data.

Heidi Parker, Ph.D., who led the genome studies, said, "We found that New Guinea singing dogs and the Highland Wild Dogs have very similar genomic sequences that are much closer together than any other known canid."

"As a result, they are much more related to one another in the tree of life than modern breeds such as the German Shepherd or the Bassett Hound."

The team suggests that the Highland Wild Dogs have genomic sequences that New Guinea-signing dogs lost in captivity.

However, they believe that breading the two will help create a true population of New Guinea singing dogs. In this way, conservation biologists may be able to help preserve the original breed by increasing the number of singing dogs in New Guinea.

The team suggests that the Highland Wild Dogs (pictured) have genome sequences that New Guinea-signing dogs lost in captivity

The team suggests that the Highland Wild Dogs (pictured) have genomic sequences that New Guinea-signing dogs lost in captivity

This type of work is only possible because NHGRI is committed to promoting comparative genomics, which allows researchers to compare the genomic sequences of the Highland Wild Dog with those of a dozen other canid species, ”said Dr. Ostrander.

Although singing dogs from New Guinea and wild dogs from the highlands are part of the Canis lupus familiaris canine species, the researchers found that each has genomic variants in its genome that do not exist in other dogs we know today.

"As we get to know these ancient proto-dogs better, we will learn new facts about modern dog breeds and the history of dog domestication," said Dr. Ostrander. "After all, so much of what we learn about dogs reflects humans."

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