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Domestic Dog Origins Date Back Earlier Than Previously Thought

Swiss Shepherd Dog
Image via Pixabay

While prior scientific research indicated that the first domesticated dogs descended from European wolves 10,000 years ago, new DNA analysis shows that that the first domesticated dogs actually appeared 33,000 years ago.

In the study, which was published in the journal Cell Research, Professor Peter Savolainen with the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden and his colleagues sequenced the genomes of 58 wolves and dogs scattered across the planet. Those analyzed included the likes of the Siberian Husky, Afghan Hound, grey wolves, and variety of other canines from places such as Nigeria and Asia.

The breakdown included 12 gray wolves and 46 dogs from around the world.

Professor Savolainen, an evolutionary geneticist, was quoted by The Telegraph as having said that the research points towards “an ancient origin of domestic dogs in southern East Asia 33,000 years ago” and that it’s possible that an “ecological niche unique in southern East Asia provided refuge during the last glacial period for not only humans, but the ancestors of dogs as well– wolves.

According to the findings of the team of international researchers, dogs broke off fro their wolf ancestors 33,000 years ago and eventually made their way to Europe some 10,000 years ago.

Savolainen has spent the last 15 years of his life studying canine DNA. He was quoted by the LA Times as having said that he and his fellow colleagues found “that dogs from southern East Asia have the same DNA types that are found in dogs all over the world, but also unique types that we don’t see anywhere else.”

We find that dogs from southern East Asia have the same DNA types that are found in dogs all over the world, but also unique types that we don’t see anywhere else (…) We saw that in the mitochondrial DNA, and now we see it in the genomic DNA as well.

While he’s confident with the study’s findings, Savolainen indicated that there’s still more research to be conducted in order to fully understand the evolution of man’s best friend.

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