Skip to comments.World's Dogs Are Descended From Asian Wolves
Posted on 11/21/2002 4:27:05 PM PST by blam
World's dogs are descended from Asian wolves
Scientists have found that almost all dogs share a common gene pool after analysing the DNA of hundreds of dogs from Europe, Asia, Africa and North America.
They have concluded domesticated dogs originated from wolves in East Asia nearly 15,000 years ago.
The animals travelled with humans through Europe and Asia and across the Bering Strait with the first settlers in America.
Swedish and Chinese scientists studied the genes of 654 dogs and found a higher genetic diversity among East Asian dogs suggested that people there were the first to domesticate dogs from wolves.
The scientists said in a study presented in the new issue of the journal Science: "Most earlier guesses have focused on the Middle East as the place of origin for dogs, based on few known facts - a small amount of archaeological evidence from the region, and the fact that several other animals were domesticated there," said lead researcher Peter Savolainen of Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology.
A separate study by researchers in the US, Latin America and Sweden said dogs with DNA linked to Eurasian wolves were present in the Americas before the arrival of European explorers in the 15th century.
That suggests the first settlers in America, believed to have crossed the Bering Strait from Asia 12,000-14,000 years ago, brought domesticated dogs with them, the study said.
Uppsala University researcher Carles Vila said the presence of dogs could explain why the settlers spread through the Americas relatively quickly.
The two studies disagreed on when people first started domesticating dogs from wolves.
The earliest finding of dog remains a jawbone from Germany which is 14,000 years old. The Swedish-Chinese research team said DNA analyses, coupled with archaeological finds, pointed to a point of origin about 15,000 years ago.
Story filed: 19:02 Thursday 21st November 2002
That would tend to confirm that Clovis Man, at least, did the Bering Strait transit about that time.
I wonder whether there were any such from among the 564 dogs studied. I remember reading somewhere the claim that dogs are likely descended from jackals and coyotes at least as much as from wolves, but the dog people like the wolf idea better.
As for the idea that prehistoric man domesticated wolves, this seems a nasty and unlikely business. More likely, the first dogs were a few extremely rare wild canines who lacked the usual animal fight or flight instinct, and these sought out people when hungary. Increasingly tame dogs would then have evolved, as the friendliest dogs, being best at begging food scraps off of people, survived and prospered. Only when prehistoric human camps already had good safe dogs in tow would humans them had been motivated to select for characteristics of specific breeds. Nobody wants to breed animals which are liable to attack them.
Interestingly enough, all domestic cats- every breed- carry the Tabby gene, meaning, they all have the potential for being born with stripes. Many believe this is their direct link to the bigger cats in the evolutionary chain.
Or the humans would kill a wolf, and take her pups, and raise those, which would then be loyal to the humans.
In the fall, the beaters set out and forced the game into a smaller area.
The village dogs were then attracted to the area. They went in and did all the killing; then they ate all the game.
During the winter, when the villagers wanted fresh meat, they popped their cheeks and whistled. The best dogs were those that came running and leaped into the caller's waiting arms where they could be quickly slaughtered.
This was still the custom among First Americanss right up through the late 1700s.
The idea that dogs might do work and not just slink around outside the village gates all day arose in modern times. Ancient man thought of the dog much as modern people think of steak packed in plastic wrap at the grocerystore.
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