Ancient Wolf DNA Could Solve Dog Origin Mystery
Previous findings have suggested that dogs and wolves split from their common ancestor around 16,000 years ago, but a new Swedish study claims that dogs became domesticated much earlier – at least 27,000 years ago.
The breakthrough discovery actually reveals that humans and dogs became best friends and devoted companions while people were still nomads – long before the first settlements and growing of crops that occured 10,000 years ago. The researchers came to this conclusion by examining a bone fragment discovered on the Taimyr Peninsula in Siberia several years ago.
Pontus Skoglund, the lead author of the study, explains that wolf-dog separation is not the same as domestication, but confirms that the results show the domestication happened thousands of years earlier than everyone thought,
Skoglund, who studies ancient DNA at Harvard Medical School and the Broad Institute in Massachusetts, told Live Science an interesting fact about the Siberian husky. Here’s what he said:
“Siberian huskies have a portion of their genome that traces back exclusively to this ancient Siberian wolf. It’s pretty amazing that there is a special genetic connection to a wolf that roamed the tundra 35,000 years ago.”
Basically, the adorable sled dog is a direct descendant of the long-extinct prehistoric wolf. Pretty amazing, right?