Domestication of Dogs

Dog were the first animals our ancestors domesticated, and whether in Asia or Europe which perhaps suggests why the details are so unclear, but this article from the i paper last Friday clarifies it:

New research suggests  that… two sets of dogs emerging independently from separate wolf populations on opposite sides of the Eurasian landmass. A team of international scientists has studied the DNA of dogs cross geography and the ages, and their finding suggests that they may have been domesticated not once, as was widely believed, but twice. “Maybe the reason there hasn’t yet been a consensus about where dogs were domesticated is because everyone has been a little bit right,” said pProfessor Gregor Larson, of Oxford University, who led the research.

“Animal domestication is a rare thing and a lot of evidence is required to overturn the assumption that it happened just once in any species. But this research suggests we need to reconsider the number of times dogs were domesticated independently,” he added.

Using a 4,800 year old dog bone excavated at a Stone Age tomb in the Boyne valley in Ireland, the scientists were able to sequence its genome. They also studied the DNA from 59 ancient dogs living between 14,000 and 3,000 years ago and compared them to the genetic signature of more than 2,500 modern dogs.

They discovered that dogs were first domesticated separately; around 15,000 years ago in Europe and about 12,500 years ago in East Asia. At some point after their domestication – thought to be at least 6,400 years ago – the eastern dogs appear to have dispersed with migrating humans into Europe, where they mixed with and mostly replaced the earliest European dogs. Most dogs today are a mixture of eastern and western dogs.

Dogs were the first domestic animal and the only one to be domesticated before the advent of agriculture, which saw the domestication of donkeys, horses, goats, sheep, pigs, goats and chickens, said the research, published in the journal Science. 

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