June 21, 2018 | 2:32 am
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How Was the Dog Domesticated

How Was the Dog Domesticated

The modern day dog is known as Canis familiaris. All dog breeds are part of this species. Canis familiaris is thought to be the first truly domestic dog. They were first documented about fifteen thousand years ago probably in Central Asia, near modern day Mongolia. But there is a lot of conflicting evidencece. Some archaeological evidence points to dogs first being officially domesticated in Southern China about sixteen thousand five hundred years ago. But one study, considered the largest study of dog genetics ever, has found that genetic diversity was highest in Central Asia with diversity fanning out in rings from there.

This led the researchers to conclude that Central Asia is the most likely source of all domestic dogs. The research looks very similar to what was observed in the human genetic studies showing humans evolving in Africa and radiating out from there. Most modern dog breeds are less than two hundred years old even though humans have been having a selection impact on dogs for thousands of years. There are also come indications that the lineage that led to modern dogs diverged from the Grey Wolf as far back as forty thousand years. Humans have been co-evolving with dogs for millennia.

How did humans first domesticate dogs?

No one really knows how domestication occurred. It’s theorized that wolves began to scavenge near human settlements. As time went by, the wolves that got some of their food from humans had a better survival rate than those that chose to go it alone. Over time, these “friendly” wolves became less and less fearful and more trusting. There were likely occasional wolf puppies that were captured or seized somehow that grew up entirely within a human community. That progenitor of the modern dog would have been one link in a long chain linking wolves to modern day dogs.