Monday, December 2, 2013

Ancient DNA suggests European hunters tamed the first dogs

A new ancient DNA study that came out on Friday helps clarify the origin of domestic dogs.  Researchers used ancient wolf and dog-like specimens dating from 1,000 to 36,000 years ago as well as DNA from modern dogs and wolves  to create a phylogeny of these species.  They found that modern dogs are most closely related to an ancient type of wolf now extinct that lived in Europe.  This suggests that dog domestication was begun by European hunter-gatherers between 18,000 and 32,000 years ago. These results were unexpected as previously, based solely on modern DNA a team comprising some of the same researchers claimed a Middle Eastern origin for domestic dogs.

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