A new study has a bone to pick with earlier researchers who concluded the domesticated dog has been around for 30,000 years.
New 3D analysis of skulls that had been identified as two of the earliest dogs shows they were actually wolves, a research team writes in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.
Fossilized remains that scientists said showed dogs date back at least 31,680 years — specifically those remains unearthed at Goyet Cave in Belgium — actually belonged to a wolf, according to a new study. So too, the new study says, did a 13,905-year-old fossil that was identified as belonging to a dog after it was found at a site called Eliseevichi in Russia.
The new study concludes that the the domestication of dogs happened during the Neolithic era (10,200 B.C.-2,000 B.C.) as opposed to the Paleolithic era (2.6 million years ago to 10,200 B.C.)
“Scientists have been eager to put a collar on the earliest domesticated dog,” lead author Abby Grace Drake said. “Unfortunately, their analyses weren’t sensitive enough to accurately determine the identity of these fossils.”
“Previous research has claimed that dogs emerged in the Paleolithic but this claim is based on inaccurate analyses,” Drake told Discovery News. “We reanalyzed some of the fossil canids from the Paleolithic and show that they are, in fact, wolves.”
“We did confirm that the Neolithic specimens Shamanka II (around 7,372 years old) and Ust’-Belaia (about 6,817 years old) are dogs, and therefore domestication took place by this time period or earlier,” added Drake, an assistant professor of biology at Skidmore College.
That means the wolves — who are generally (but not unanimously) believed to have evolved into dogs, possibly as a result of their interacting with humans — first appeared on earth after humans were farming and living in settlements, as opposed to when they were living in caves and hunting and gathering.
Drake and colleagues Michael Coquerelle and Guillaume Colombeau used scans and 3D visualization software to study the shape and size of the two oldest skulls and compare the data with measurements from the skulls of other dogs and wolves, according to a report on Phys.org.
That technique allowed the team to identify subtle morphological differences between dogs and wolves, such as the direction of the eye cavity and the angle between the muzzle and forehead.
(Photo: Abby Grace Drake, Skidmore College)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 6th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: analysis, animals, dog, dogs, domestication, evolution, fossilized, fossils, neolithic, origin, paleolithic, pets, remains, research, science, skidmore college, wolf, wolves
A new genetic analysis indicates that man’s best friend descended from Middle Eastern wolves, contradicting previous suggestions that the dog first evolved from wolves in Asia.
“Dogs seem to share more genetic similarity with Middle Eastern gray wolves than with any other wolf population worldwide,” said UCLA’s Robert Wayne, who along with his colleagues studied more than 48,000 DNA sequences in dogs and grey wolves from across the world. “Genome-wide analysis now directly suggests a Middle East origin for modern dogs.”
The journal Nature reports on the latest development in the ongoing debate on its blog, The Great Beyond.
Previous work on mitochondrial DNA suggested East Asia was a more likely origin, while other studies have pinpointed Africa.
“This new Nature paper is a much more comprehensive analysis because we have analyzed 48,000 markers distributed throughout the nuclear genome to try to conclude where the most likely ancestral population is,” Wayne said.
The new paper is more consistent with archaeological evidence, with the oldest dog remains coming from the Middle East around 12,000 years ago, Belgium 31,000 years ago and western Russia 15,000 years ago.
The new analysis did find that some ancient east Asian dog breeds have similarities with Chinese wolves, suggesting there was some mixing between these animals after domestication, or that these breeds actually derived from Chinese wolves.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 19th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, asia, dna, dog, dogs, evolution, genetics, genome, markers, middle east, nature, origin, origins, pets, populations, robert wayne, science, ucla, wolf, wolves
A team of Swedish and Chinese researchers say they have pinpointed — at least more than it has been pinpointed up to now — the place where, 16,000 years ago, the wolf was tamed and evolved into the dog.
It was in China, on the southern shores of the Yangtze River, they say.
Their findings are contained in an article in the latest issue of scientific journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.
“For the first time … it is possible to provide a detailed picture of the dog, with its birthplace, point in time, and how many wolves were tamed,” says Peter Savolainen, a biologist and member of the research team at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm.
Together with Swedish colleagues and a Chinese research team, Savolainen has made a number of new discoveries about the history of the dog — including the most specific date and birthplace yet offered.
“Our earlier findings from 2002 have not been fully accepted, but with our new data there will be greater acceptance. The picture provides much more detail,” says Savolainen.
Savolainen said the research indicates that the dog has a single geographic origin but descends from a large “large number of animals – at least several hundred tamed wolves, probable even more,” according to Science Daily.
The theory that the domestic dog originated in East Asia was challenged earlier this month by an international group of researchers who say African dogs are just as genetically diverse.
That research, based on analyzing blood samples from dogs in Egypt, Uganda and Namibia, shows the DNA of dogs in African villages is just as varied, indicating it could have been where wolves made the transition to become dogs.
(Photo: Science Daily press release)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 2nd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: africa, animals, china, chines, dog, dogs, east asia, evolution, origin, peter savolainen, pets, research, royal institute of technology, science, stockholm, study, sweden, wolf, wolves, yangtze
The theory that the domestic dog originated in East Asia has been challenged by an international group of researchers who say African dogs are just as genetically diverse.
The huge genetic diversity of dogs found in East Asia had led many scientists to conclude that it was where the domestication of the dog began.
But newly published research, based on analyzing blood samples from dogs in Egypt, Uganda and Namibia, shows the DNA of dogs in African villages is just as varied, according to the New York Times.
The research was originally aimed at tracking down a newly discovered “small gene” that led to wolves being downsized in their transition to dogs. Instead, as reported in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers found information they say calls into question where wolves were first domesticated.
Lead scientist, Adam Boyko of the Department of Biological Statistics and Computational Biology at Cornell University, says he decided to look at village dogs at least partly because his brother, an anthropologist as the University of California-Davis, was head there on a honeymoon. Also there are more mutts there — dogs more genetically diverse than bred dogs.
It’s the mutts that may hold the key to the learning the origins of dog domestication.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 4th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: africa, diversity, dna, dogs, domestication, east asia, eurasian, gene, genetics, humans, location, origin, research, science, small ene, study, villages, wolf, wolves
An international team of scientists has identified what it believes is the world’s first known dog, and says that it lived in Belgium 31,700 years ago — a good 17,000 years earlier than what was previously thought to be the earliest dog, found in Russia.
The prehistoric dog’s remains were excavated at Goyet Cave in Belgium, suggesting to the researchers that the Aurignacian people of Europe from the Upper Paleolithic period were the first to domesticate dogs, the Discovery Channel reports.
“The most remarkable difference between these dogs and recent dog breeds is the size of the teeth,” lead author Mietje Germonpre told Discovery News, comparing the tooth size more to wolves than dogs.
The scientists say — based on Isotopic analysis of the bones found — that the earliest dogs subsisted on horse, musk ox and reindeer.
Germonpre, a paleontologist at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, said the Paleolithic dogs most resemble the Siberian husky, but were somewhat larger.
For the study, which has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Archaeological Science, the scientists analyzed 117 skulls of recent and fossil large members of the Canidae family, which includes dogs, wolves and foxes.
Germonpre believes dog domestication might have begun when the prehistoric hunters killed a female wolf and then brought home her pups.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 17th, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: archaeology, aurignacian, belgium, breeds, canidae, discovery, dogs, domestication, fossils, germonpre, goyet cave, news, origin, paleolithic, paleontology, prehistoric dog, russia, science, scientists, skulls, wolves, world's first dog