Year in Review: Canine genealogy

Competing clues confuse story of dog domestication

12:40pm, December 26, 2013

WOLF DOG  Genetic analyses of various populations of living wolves from around the world suggest that modern dogs descend from a species of wolf that is now extinct.


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.

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