Ancient DNA tells of two origins for dogs | Science News

SUPPORT SCIENCE NEWS

Science News is a nonprofit.

Help us keep you informed.


News

Ancient DNA tells of two origins for dogs

Domestication of wolves might have happened in both East and West

By
6:05pm, June 2, 2016
dogs

EASTERN INFLUENCE  Dogs may have been domesticated separately in East Asia and Europe, a new study suggests. Those separate dog groups got together when Eastern dogs moved west with humans and partially replaced dogs living in Europe. Those events happened thousands of years before breeds, such as Chinese shar-peis (left) and German shepherds (right), were created.

Dogs were domesticated at least twice, a new study suggests.

Genetic analyses of a 4,800-year-old Irish dog and 59 other ancient dogs suggest that canines and humans became pals in both Europe and East Asia long before the advent of farming, researchers report June 3 in Science. Later, dogs from East Asia accompanied their human companions to Europe, where their genetic legacy trumped that of dogs already living there, the team also concludes.

That muddled genetic legacy may help explain why previous studies have indicated that dogs were domesticated from wolves only once, although evidence hasn’t been clear about whether this took place in East Asia, Central Asia or Europe. The idea that dogs came from East Asia or Central Asia is mostly based on analysis of DNA from modern dogs, while claims for European origins have been staked on studies of prehistoric pups’ genetics. “This

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content