The history of man’s best friend is still a mystery that researchers hope to decipher. Just in case anyone out there might be wondering what we’re talking about – dogs. The furry creatures which we love so much have morphed from vicious gray wolves. But when, and where?
According to a new study, dogs were domesticated in Europe and in Asia by two different groups of people. The findings are based on genetic and archaeological evidence. Researchers have looked at DNA sequences from the fossils of 59 European dogs that lived 3,000 to 14,000 years ago. The team also had a genome from a 4,800-year-old remain of a dog’s inner ear bone, which was discovered in Ireland. Scientists then compared the ancient DNA to that of hundreds of modern dogs.
The findings showed a difference in the genetics of modern European and East Asian dogs.
Researchers believe that the beloved playful creatures were domesticated first in East Asia, and only after migrated West to Europe. They might have been accompanied by their human companions. However, there’s evidence showing that dogs might have lived in Europe well before the presumed migration. Archaeologists have discovered remains of dogs that are believed to be at least 15,000 years old. Even more, the split from the East to West would have left dog fossils along the way. Scientists have yet to discover remains in that geographic area.
This leads the team to hypothesize that dogs were domesticated separately by two different populations. Dogs later migrated from East Asia to Europe, and their genetics practically encompassed the original dog populations in Europe. However, more proof is needed to support the theory.
The history of man’s best friend is a puzzle that has yet to be completed. But scientists point at how other animals have been domesticated twice in different regions of the globe. Let’s take pigs, for instance. There is archaeological evidence suggesting that they were domesticated both in China and in Anatolia (Turkey).
All of this research shows just how complex the process of animal domestication is. There are far more factors and places that must be taken into account to accurately reveal the true origins of the species, as well as their relationship with humans.
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