Competing clues confuse story of dog domestication
The ancient lineage of man’s best friend is kind of a tangled mess. But scientists made some progress this year in identifying dogs’ ancestors and in estimating the timeline of canine domestication.
Dogs may have descended from a now-extinct wolf species, Adam Freedman of Harvard and colleagues reported in June (SN: 7/13/13, p. 14). They date dog domestication to between 11,000 and 16,000 years ago, before the rise of agriculture.
But not all the new clues tell the same story. Archaeologists have unearthed fossils from doglike animals in both Europe and Siberia that date to more than 30,000 years ago. And in November, Olaf Thalmann of the