According to the findings of a new study, the friendship between man and dog might be far more long-standing than ever perceived. Scientists have found a common ancestor of both wolves and dogs that lived alongside man 35,000 years ago.
The researchers studied a bone fragment found in the tundra from the Taimyr Peninsula in Siberia. They radiocarbon dated the fragment to be 35,000 old and furthermore, they discovered that it has a tremendous amount of genetic information in common with the Siberian Husky that lives today.
Scientists used to think that dogs evolved from grey wolves, but this study comes to revise that hypothesis by proving that both wolfs and dogs share an ancestor in the Taimyr wolf of Siberia.
This is an amazing prehistoric member of the wolf family that roamed the tundra alongside man ever since he was a hunter-gather. Researchers believe that the wolf has greatly helped man in both hunting and defense, since it had the ability to keep away many of the animals that man was trying to stay clear of. This is believed to have constituted a valuable advantage worthy of a partnership in those times.
Swedish Museum of Natural History’s Love Dalén, the senior author of this latest study, tried to answer the public’s most ardent question regarding the moment when the dog’s ancestor was domesticated by man, so as to be able to pinpoint the start of this beautiful friendship that still lives on strongly today.
Dr. Dalén explained that the meaning of the word “domesticated” is key to finding its originating time. In the case that the terms describes a dog similar to the ones we have today, that is completely tamed by man, then previous dating still stands strong. Man-dog companionship has been deemed 16,000 old by previous studies.
“But if ‘being domesticated’ means an animal population that is held and breeds in captivity, then our results are consistent with dogs being domesticated at least 27,000 years ago,” said Dr. Dalén.
The lead author of the study, Pontus Skoglund of Harvard University told Discovery News in an interview that their findings suggest that this moment of domestication that happened roughly 27,000 ago was also the moment when the ancestors of the domestic dogs chose a different path alongside man than the ancestors of the wolves did.
Furthermore, the fact that these ancient dogs followed man all throughout Earth’s lands is directly connected to the immense gene pool behind the vast diversity of dog breeds that live today. Essentially, this is why we have so many very different types of dogs today, ranging from the adorable pug to the gigantic Great Dane .
This amazing study was published in the scientific journal Current Biology. It has brought tremendous insight on the evolution of man alongside its beloved companion, the dog and on all the ways that they have influenced each other in.
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