A 14,000-year-old puppy, whose perfectly preserved body was found in Russia, munched on a woolly rhino for its last meal

The body of a preserved woolly rhino

(CNN)Scientists studying the body of a perfectly preserved Ice Age puppy have made an unexpected discovery -- a piece of what could be one of the last woolly rhinos inside its stomach.

Russian researchers first excavated the preserved, furry body of the canine -- which could be a dog or a wolf -- from a site in Tumat, Siberia, in 2011.
Inside the 14,000-year-old puppy's stomach was a hairy piece of tissue. At first, scientists assumed the fragment belonged to a cave lion, because of its fine yellow fur. But tests by experts at Stockholm's Natural History Museum told a different story.
    The preserved puppy was found in Tumat, Siberia.
    "When they got the DNA back, it didn't look like a cave lion," Love Dalen, a professor of evolutionary genetics at the Centre for Palaeogenetics, a joint venture between Stockholm University and the Swedish Museum of Natural History, told CNN.
    "We have a reference database and mitochondrial DNA from all mammals, so we checked the sequence data against that and the results that came back -- it was an almost perfect match for woolly rhinoceros," Dalen said.
    "It's completely unheard of. I'm not aware of any frozen Ice Age carnivore where they have found pieces of tissue inside," he said.
    After radiocarbon dating the sample, experts determined that the rhino skin was around 14,400 years old.
    "This puppy, we know already, has been dated to roughly 14,000 years ago. We also know that the woolly rhinoceros goes extinct 14,000 years ago. So, potentially, this puppy has eaten one of the last remaining woolly rhinos," he said.