Dogs originate in both Europe and Asia

2016-06-04 19:20
(iStock)

(iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - Humans may have domesticated dogs two separate times, taming wolves both in Europe and Asia thousands of years ago, a new study shows.

A major international research project may have cleared some of the controversy surrounding the origins of "man's best friend," which has until now remained a mystery with two primary hypotheses.

The first holds that humans domesticated dogs for the first time in Europe more than 15 000 years ago.

Opposing researchers believe the domestication happened approximately 12 500 years ago in Central Asia or China.

Dog's bones

The new study, published in the American journal Science, suggests both claims might carry weight.

"Maybe the reason there hasn't been a consensus about where dogs were domesticated is because everyone has been a little bit right," said Greg Larson, a top Oxford University researcher who helped lead the project.

Researchers used ancient DNA evidence and the archaeological record of early dog species in their research.

The project involved sequencing for the first time the genome of a 4 800-year-old dog at Trinity College in Dublin.

That dog's bones came from the Neolithic Passage Tomb of Newgrange, Ireland, a contemporary of Stonehenge in England.

The team also used mitochondrial DNA from 59 ancient dogs who lived between 14 000 to 3 000 years ago, comparing the samples to genetic traits of more than 2 500 modern dogs.

Their findings suggest dogs were separately domesticated both in Europe and in Asia and later mixed as humans migrated across the continent. That would mean most dogs today are a genetic mix of their Asian and European ancestors.

The new hypothesis would explain in part why scientists have had a hard time interpreting previous genetic studies.

Cats and pigs

"The new model is provocative and exciting," said John Novembre, a population geneticist at the University of Chicago. "The full collaboration is going to be essential to untangling this complicated story."

The double origin theory could also suggest that cats and pigs were domesticated multiple times, said Peter Savolainen, a geneticist at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

"If domestication only happened in one place, it was probably a very hard thing to do," he said. "But if it happened twice, maybe it wasn't as hard as we thought."

Read more on:    us  |  animals

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.