Where did dogs originate?

Dogs and humans have been partners for a long time. No one knows exactly how long, but there is a 12,000 year old burial site in Israel containing the body of a woman and her puppy.

Some scientists think the association between dogs/wolves and people might go back as far as 100,000 years. (“Multiple and ancient origins of the domestic dogs” by C Vila.)

Another intriguing question is: where did the dogs come from?

The oldest known doglike fossil comes from Europe. DNA studies have implicated that dogs would come from east Asia and the Middle East, but new DNA studies point towards Europe. This latest research indicates that dogs might have indeed have originated in Europe, and this would have happened some 32,000 years ago.

The study gathered DNA from fossils of 18 ancient wolflike and doglike creatures that lived up to 36,000 years ago in Argentina, Belgium, Germany, Russia, Switzerland, and the United States. They compared this genetic material with samples from wolves from North America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East along with 77 different dog breeds and four coyotes.

The DNA of modern dogs showed similarities to the DNA from ancient European specimens as well as modern day European wolves.

This doesn’t mean that Europe is the only place where dogs developed. The continent played a major part in the domestication process of dogs as we know them today, but a parallel development might have taken place in other parts of the world.

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