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Drop everything! New Guinea’s singing dogs have returned after 50 years of “extinction”

Looks like New Guinea’s singing dogs have resurfaced to bust out another tune after 50 years of being thought extinct.

An ancient breed known as the New Guinean singing dog has been found after previously being assumed extinct in the wild. Similar in appearance to the Australian Dingo, but much more operatic, the breed is believed to be the missing link between the first species of early dogs and domestic dogs that we know today.

So why the peculiar name? These dogs are best known for their unique vocalisation. They don’t bark but are instead bellow a bloodcurdling howl, which they synchronise in order to communicate. Another spicy twist? They can also harmonise their howls, with the sound being compared to that of a humpback whale.

new guinean singing dog

The dogs were thought to have become extinct in their natural habitat due to land loss and poor integration with feral dogs from villages. Although there are approximately 200 of these little singing fellas living in captivity, the last wild songstress was seen over 50 years ago. That was until 2016 however, when *inhales in shock* the New Guinea Wild Dog Foundation took DNA samples and photos of around 15 individual dogs, that looked suspiciously similar to the singing beasts.

What did we find? The elegant harmony dingos were alive and well in the New Guinean highlands.

“By getting to know these ancient, proto-dogs more, we will learn new facts about modern dog breeds and the history of dog domestication,” U.S. National Human Genome Research Institute Geneticist Elaine Ostrander explains. “After all, so much of what we learn about dogs reflects back on humans.”