Dog domestication happened just once, ancient DNA study suggests | Science News

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Dog domestication happened just once, ancient DNA study suggests

Like pups worrying over a bone, debate over when — and how many times — dogs were tamed continues

11:18am, July 18, 2017
dog skull

HEAR HEAR  DNA extracted from an inner ear bone of this dog skull is helping researchers decipher dogs’ origin story. The skull is about 4,700 years old and was found at Cherry Tree Cave in Germany.

People and pooches may have struck up a lasting friendship after just one try, a new genetic study suggests.

New data from ancient dogs indicates that dogs became distinct from wolves between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago, researchers report July 18 in Nature Communications. Dogs then formed genetically distinct eastern and western groups 17,000 to 24,000 years ago, the researchers calculate. That timing and other genetic data point to dogs being domesticated just once.

That idea contrasts with a hypothesis put forward last year that dogs were domesticated separately in Europe and East Asia, with the Asian dogs eventually replacing the European mutts (SN: 7/9/16, p. 15).  

Scientists agree that dogs stem from wolves, but where, when and how many times dogs were domesticated — passing down

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