JUL 03, 2016 4:20 PM PDT

Dogs may Have Been Domesticated Twice

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Scientists have long debated where dogs originated from. Humans and wolves could have first built their special bond in Europe, but it also could have started in Asia. Researchers reported in the journal Science that a genetic study of hundreds of dogs revealed that canines might have actually been domesticated two times, once in Europe or the Near East, and once in Asia.

Analyzing genetic sequences, the investigators were surprised to see deep divisions in between Asian and European dogs, which they were able to see because of the sample size, which included a sample fro nearly 5,000 years ago. Their data also suggested the split happened between 6,400 and 14,000 years ago. The genetic pool was then reduced in size, indicating it's likely that a subset of ancient domesticated dogs migrated out of Asia with humans through Eurasia, creating the genetic basis for modern dogs.

These findings may resolve a conflict that has divided the community studying canine origins. The debate hasn't been settled yet, and the community is working in collaboration to resolve the unknowns. Research has also hinted that there could have been ‘double domestication' events for pigs and cats as well.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
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