New data from ancient dogs indicates that dogs became distinct from wolves between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago, researchers report […] in Nature Communications. Dogs then formed genetically distinct eastern and western groups 17,000 to 24,000 years ago, the researchers calculate. That timing and other genetic data point to dogs being domesticated just once.
The new study examined the complete genetic blueprints, or genome, from a 7,000-year-old dog from Herxheim in Germany, and a 4,700-year-old dog from Cherry Tree Cave (also known as Kirshbaumhöle) in Germany.
[Stony Brook University evolutionary geneticist Krishna] Veeramah and colleagues see a split between eastern and western dogs, that split probably happened after domestication took place. Modern European dogs still share heritage with Stone Age canines on the continent, hinting that all the pups came from a common source rather than separately domesticated Asian dogs replacing their European counterparts.
These new data don’t completely rule out multiple domestications (the single event is just the simpler explanation), nor do they indicate where humans and canines became BFFs, Veeramah says.
[The original study can be found here]
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