Modern dogs evolved from two distinct groups in Europe and Asia

man and dog at sunset

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Humans have a tighter bond with dogs than perhaps any other animal. But figuring out exactly how that bond developed has been a huge, tantalizing challenge for researchers. Now, an ambitious study of canine genetics suggests that dogs’ history is even more complex than we thought — and that the animals we know now actually come from two separate groups of ancient domesticated wolves in Europe and Asia.

The study, published in Science, is part of a major attempt by the University of Oxford to pin down the origin of the dog. Comparing the DNA of ancient and modern dogs, the researchers found a distinct genetic split between dogs from East Asia and Western Eurasia, an area comprising modern Europe and the Middle East. This split doesn’t seem to be the result of one population diverging over time, the study authors say. Instead, it looks like East Asian dogs came from a different source and moved west over time, eventually mixing with and partially replacing a group of existing European dogs.

Read full, original post: Dogs were a species so nice, we domesticated them twice

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