Saturday, December 19, 2015

New Study Suggests that Man and Dog Have Been Close Friends for 33,000 Years

New Study Suggests that Man and Dog Have Been Close Friends for 33,000 Years

A new study reveals that the origin of man’s best friend may not have been where, or when, the scientific community previously believed. The analysis of a variety of ancient canine DNA has also helped researchers create a map of the journey of the domestic dog across the world.

This is believed to be the most complete study of dog genomes to date, and as the researchers wrote in their article published online in the journal Cell Research, “For the first time, our study unravels an extraordinary journey that the domestic dog has traveled on earth.”

Peter Savolainen of Sweden's KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and one of the contributors to the current study’s international team, told that while past studies also analyzed the entire nuclear genome, they failed to include samples from South East Asia – following the general belief that domesticated dogs had originated in the Middle East, Central Asia, or Europe.

This time the researchers conducted a DNA analysis using samples from more regions of the world and different time periods. They used this information to look for series of admixtures (events that occur when individuals from two or more separate species begin to interbreed). The results of their study have led them to assert that domesticated dogs most likely descended from gray wolves in South East Asia, about 33,000 years ago. Furthermore, they claim that the “founder population” numbered approximately 4,600 canines.