Dingo's long-lost cousin found in the New Guinea Highlands
DNA testing has confirmed that a small population of wild dogs in the remote New Guinea Highlands are direct ancestors of the New Guinea singing dogs – a rare canid previously thought to be extinct in the wild.
The findings come two years after a team of researchers observed 18 Highland wild dogs during a two-week long field trip. The wild dogs were found in a hard-to-reach mountain region in the Papua province of Indonesia.
Genetic testing showed both the New Guinea singing dogs and Highland wild dogs are close relatives to the Australian dingo. This unique family aren’t the same as domestic dogs or a type of dog breed – they belong to a distinct group that split off from dogs thousands of years ago, before domestication occurred.
New Guinea singing dogs are known for their unique vocalisations, described as a ‘wolf howl with overtones of whale song’.