All Dogs May Originate From One Geographic Location

All Dogs May Originate From One Geographic Location

All Dogs May Originate From One Geographic Location

That timing and other genetic data point to dogs being domesticated just once.

The earliest dog fossils are distinguishable from wolves in the same region of Germany from around 15,000 years ago, showing that dogs were the first animal to be domesticated. The dog is analyzed in a new genetics study suggesting that dogs were domesticated only once.

However, after studying a 7,000-year-old dog fossil, as well as two others dating back between 4,700 and 5,000 years ago, and comparing their genome sequences to those of 5,649 wolves and modern dogs, Dr. Veeramah's team disputes those findings.

"Contrary to the results of this previous analysis, we found that our ancient dogs from the same time period were very similar to modern European dogs, including the majority of breed dogs people keep as pets", explains Krishna R. Veeramah, assistant professor of ecology & evolution in the College of Arts & Sciences at Stony Brook University.

Recent analysis of genetic data from modern dogs adds to the mystery, with some scientists suggesting many areas of Europe, Central Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East as possible origins of dog domestication. The results of the study led the research team to suggest dogs were domesticated not once but twice.

Overall, he emphasizes, their new genomic analysis of ancient dogs will help scientists better understand the process of dog evolution, even if the exact geographic origin of domestication remains a mystery.

That idea contrasts with a hypothesis put forward past year that dogs were domesticated separately in Europe and East Asia, with the Asian dogs eventually replacing the European mutts.

Modern European dogs still share heritage with Stone Age canines on the continent, hinting that all the pups came from a common source rather than separately domesticated Asian dogs replacing their European counterparts.

Dogs then formed genetically distinct eastern and western groups 17,000 to 24,000 years ago, the researchers calculate.

They also found evidence of the younger 5,000-year-old dog to be a mixture of European dogs and something that resembles current central Asian/Indian dogs.

"We also reanalyzed the ancient Irish dog genome alongside our German dog genomes, and believe we found a number of technical errors in the previous analysis that likely led those scientists to incorrectly make the conclusion of a dual domestication event", Veeramah said.

Given the vastly different appearances of different dog breeds, it might be hard to accept that all of them can trace their ancestors back to a single group of wolves, but that's exactly what new research published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications claimed happened.

The research was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health.

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