Mysterious Singing Dogs Reappears From Supposed Extinction After 50 Years

New Guinea singing dogs are known for their unique wails once populated the island. With only around 200 in zoos and sanctuaries around the world,  these dogs were thought to be extinct in the wild for 50 years. Now, something has changed. A new study proposes that these wild dogs have been living near the world’s largest gold mine in New Guinea’s highlands. If this is verified, this could be huge news.

The Findings

The results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Supposedly researchers knew about an elusive highland wild dog that had similar vocalizations as the New Guinea singing dogs. Field biologist James MacIntyre was able to get photographic evidence as well as fecal samples from more than a dozen wild dogs. On his second trip, he managed to trap them and get blood samples.

The Results

After testing the DNA samples, it was found that the highland wild dogs and New Guinea singing dogs shared extremely similar genome sequences. “We found, first, that the closest relative of the highland wild dogs were the conservation populations of New Guinea singing dogs along with dingoes. In fact, the dingo, highland wild dog, and New Guinea singing dog from conservation populations ended up together on the same ‘branch’ when we compared all their DNA to that of hundreds of domestic breeds, wild canids, and other dog populations,” Ostrander says.

Almost The Same But Not Quite

Even if their genomes aren’t exactly the same, experts believe that is still the same and credit differences to the fact that they have been separated for a period of time. So despite the results, it seems as if this is the same dog.

Future Plans

The researchers intend on studying these singing dogs and how their genes affect their vocalization. Since humans are so closely related to dogs, scientists believe that it could even help in the study of human vocalization. Also, if you haven’t caught the sounds of a New Guinea singing dog, it’s worth a listen. “It is a pleasing harmonic sound…It’s not like other dogs sounds—not a howl or a yip or a bark. It is really a lovely harmonic and haunting vocalization.”