Researchers have fetched an ancient dog fossil that provides new context for when the species arrived to the Americas.

The small fragment of a dog's femur was found in Alaska and belonged to a canine that roamed the region about 10,150 years ago, said a study by the University at Buffalo. It is believed to be the oldest dog bone found in the Americas.

Analysis determined the dog was likely part of a species "whose evolutionary history diverged from that of Siberian dogs as early as 16,700 years ago," the study said.

"We now have genetic evidence from an ancient dog found along the Alaskan coast," biological sciences professor Charlotte Lindqvist said. "Our data help provide not only a timing but also a location for the entry of dogs and people into the Americas. Our study supports the theory that this migration occurred just as coastal glaciers retreated during the last Ice Age."