Dog DNA Study Sheds New Light On The Origins Of Man’s Favorite Pet

A new dog DNA study has shed some light on the origins of the species. Dogs have been around for a long time, and this new study reveals just how long man’s best friend has been around. According to the Business Insider, the early forms of the domestic dog first came into existence 33,000 years ago.

This timeframe comes from a new scientific study that was released on Tuesday. The study revealed that the domestic dog sprouted from a lineage that has its origins in the wolves of Southeast Asia 33,000 years ago. Two lines sprouted from those same wolves.

Peter Savolainen, one of the authors of the study from the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, spoke about the origins of the dog and the study’s findings.

“Nobody knows exactly what happened, but the favorite theory for many in the field is that this domestication was a collaboration between humans and wolves. It might have started with the wolves coming closer to humans, living from the debris of food leftovers around human camps. And then those wolves that were least aggressive or that were best accepted by humans to come near, they got the best food and therefore a selective advantage compared to other wolves.”

Those words make it sound like the man was actually the wolves’ best friend and not the other way around. The domestic dog of today did not appear right away. These wolves that had become friendly with humans began to move through the Middle East and Africa around 15,000 years ago. These early domestic dogs finally arrived in Europe around 10,000 years ago.

Dr. Savolainen spoke more about this migration.

“It’s a little bit like the origins of humans. We all came out of Africa and coming to Eurasia, we mixed with Neanderthals and the Denisovans a little bit, giving a few percent of the whole diversity.”

How did this study come to this conclusion? Professor Savolainen and his team studied 58 species of dog, according to Daily Mail. A number of dog species were a part of the study, including “grey wolves, indigenous dogs from South East Asia and North East Asia, village dogs from Nigeria, and a collection of breeds from the rest of the world, such as the Afghan hound and Siberian husky.”

This study and the time frame do suggest that the domestic dog did not come to be overnight. This was a process that took thousands of years. It does show the connection between man and beast though. Even in those times thousands of years ago, man befriended the beasts. It was that friendship and bond that helped create the domestic dog that we know today.

This is not the only dog study generating news in recent weeks. Scientists are now studying dogs to help humans. According to FOX News, a new study is looking at canine genetics, behavior, and personality. Scientists are hoping to use the results to help treat diseases like obsessive-compulsive disorder and autism.

This study is being conducted by a team at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Professor Elinor Karlsson is in charge of this study. Studies with dogs have helped scientists learn more about more human diseases like “osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, as well as the sleep disorder narcolepsy and a neurological condition, epilepsy.”

It is hoping this new study helps scientists learn more about these other areas.

What do you think about this new dog study? Are you surprised that the origins of the domestic dog trace back to 33,000 years ago?

[Photo via Shutterstock]