The origins of domestic dogs and the process of domestication

We all know that dogs are man’s best friend. But it is amazing to know its origin and the beginning of the domestication process

(Picture Pixabay)

The source of coexistence between dogs and humans is very remote. There are many historical and archeological patterns that testify to its presence throughout our evolutionary process. And perhaps for this reason, we can acknowledge today that this special relationship is no longer based on mutual benefit, but on deep respect.

But have you ever wondered who is the ancestor of our pet dog? What is its origin and when did dogs and humans start walking side by side?

Remote source for domestic dogs

Although the chronological boundaries of dog domestication are not yet clear, recognition, thanks to numerous studies on behavioral and physiological genetics, Gray wolf As most likely Ancestors Our pet dog (Introduction to Canis lupus)

The wolf dog in the eye
(Picture Pixabay)

To confirm this lineage, the most important is conducted by research Robert WayneUniversity of California and Los Angeles, 1997.

A given mitochondrial DNA sequence (mitochondria are small sub-cellular structures that have their own small genomes) comparing wolves from North America, Asia, and the Middle East with a large number of different breeds of dogs and other canines. (E.g. foxes and coyotes), Wayne showed that the genetic differences between dogs and offspring are greater when mitochondrial DNA Dogs and wolves differ by only 1%.

By analyzing the sequence generated by the so-called “atomic clock”, Owen and his colleagues were able to infer the genetic separation between wolves and dogs. 135,000 years agoStarting from Pleistocene.

However, this statement contradicts the first fossil discovery of a dog domesticated about 14,000 years ago, which revealed a structural and morphological difference between wolves and dogs (these are the remains of hominids near them. .

This temporal disconnect between mitochondrial and archaeological DNA evidence further analyzes WayneWho said that this period was not sufficient to justify the huge differences in the mitochondrial DNA of wolves and dogs, and that there was probably not much difference in morphology between domesticated dogs and wolves before that, thus no results responsible for the canine type. .

Thus, Wayne and his colleagues no longer had any doubts: The wolf It is the only ancestor of the dog and the domestication process began 135,000 years ago.

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Where and when wolves are domesticated

There is still a great deal of debate and scientific research on when and where the process of domesticating dog ancestry began. The wolf.

Footprint wolf dog
(Picture Pixabay)

Chronologically, the boundaries are defined 18,000 and 32,000 Many years ago; Geographically, however, we find differences in the Far East, Central Asia, and Europe. Consideration, thanks to a recent study published in Science, suggests that this process may have occurred in Europe only once by a population of extinct wolves.

This study was conducted by Professor Olaf ThalmanThe University of Turku, 30,000 years ago, and the discovery of the remains of a domesticated dog (Canis lupus familialis) in Europe pressed for a solution.

Thallman compares DNA sequences from wolf bones found in areas where there is clear evidence of his coexistence with various modern wolves and dogs with humans: a modern dog’s DNA is close to that of a wolf population. Europe lives, and thus wolves have domesticated processes Origin in EuropeBy nomadic hunter-gatherers, close to the last ice age.

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How the domestication process happened

One of the most widely accepted hypotheses is the theory of self-domestication by natural selection of wolves, the theory of husband-wife, biologist, Ray and Lorna Coppinger.

The wolf is domesticated
(Picture Pixabay)

According to biologists, it was the wolves, who were the least skilled at hunting and the least frightened, who went to the nomadic hunters. Feeding The remnants of their food.

Later, with the birth of the first settlements, a real cohabitation with mutual benefits began. The human community began to tolerate these wild dogs for their role as scavengers and predators of small insects.

On the other hand, wolves learn to eat close to humans and find opportunities to survive in this environment more “comfortably”.

It has led to all the social, morphological and behavioral changes that are meaningful at this time. The mouth is small, the teeth are skull and the size is small.
The first proto-dog was born, the ancestor of domestic dogs.

To date, there are more than 300 dog breeds, all with an interesting ancestor, the wolf.

Rosana Buchella

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