According to several investigations, dogs have been with us for thousands of years. Their ancestry comes from the wolves and, with the passage of time and the evolution of man, they became what they are today: loyal companions, great guardians, efficient rescuers but, above all, a great company for children, older adults and for Anyone who wants to live with these adorable pets.
Hundreds of investigations have been carried out around the world to determine the origin of dogs and since when they accompany us. The answers to these questions are found in research published recently in the prestigious journal Current Biology. The study states that dogs evolved from wolves 40,000 years ago. Scientists came to that conclusion after analyzing the genetic material of a Siberian wolf that lived 35,000 years ago. That sample suggests that humans may have begun to domesticate dogs between 27,000 and 40,000 years before our time.
The researchers theorize that the first domesticated dogs could have been the companions of humans who, during the ice age, were engaged in hunting animals. Below we share some relevant points of this important finding.
What data threw the found samples?
According to the research, several previous genetic analyzes had determined the separation of dogs and wolves between 10,000 and 30,000 years. The researchers relied on the bone sample of a rib, from which DNA was extracted. The material was discovered on an expedition to the Taymyr peninsula in Russia during 2010. When they found the bone, the researchers first believed that it could have been from a dead reindeer long, long ago. However, the initial analysis showed that the piece came from the remains of a wolf and radiocarbon dating placed its age around 35,000 years. It was thought to be long before the domestication of dogs, but the genetic code It showed an almost equal representation of DNA from wolves and modern dogs.
Research indicates that humans could have kept wolves in captivity before they were fully domesticated, even though dogs have probably retained the body characteristics of wolves for thousands of years. They could also have been tamed by the first humans who inhabited the continents of Asia and Europe.
According to the researchers, even after the canids separated from the genetic tree that contains the wolves, the two types of animals probably continued to cross over for a prolonged period of time. From there they derive specimens such as Greenland dogs or Siberian huskies, which have shown that they have more genetic material than wolves than other canines. In that sense, if the analysis performed by the scientists is correct, then the dogs were domesticated much earlier than other species, such as chickens, pigs, and cattle. In fact, some researchers believe that domesticated dogs could have helped Neanderthals in hunting.
Conclusions of the investigation
The results of these scientific investigations provide direct evidence of a longer timeframe for determining the lineage of dogs and wolves and, therefore, suggests that dogs may have their origin much earlier than commonly accepted. The report contends that such early divergence coincides with several paleontological investigations of canids of up to 36,000 years. There are also indications that could support the theory that domesticated dogs have accompanied the first colonizers in America.
However, research reveals that the initial divergence between the ancestors of dogs and gray wolves has not necessarily had to coincide with domestication in the sense of selective breeding since this human process could have occurred after or during a period of a prolonged time.
The report also states that the ancestry of current dog breeds is due to various events or events of domestication and, in the case of specimens such as the Siberian Husky and the Greenland dog, part of their ancestry can be traced in the Taimyr wolf, whose lineage is currently extinct.