When did humans begin to breed their dogs?
- Since prehistoric times, humans have had dogs by their side. Evidence suggests that 14,000 years ago our furry companions were buried alongside us. But at what point did we begin to shape dogs through breeding? There is a rich dog breeding history into how our best friends began to be altered through generations by us.
Evolution of dogs from the wolves explained by Neil deGrasse Tyson in the show Cosmos - A Space time Odyssey.
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Mar 01, 2019 · More recent studies suggest humans may have first domesticated dogs some 6,400-14,000 years ago when an initial wolf population split into East and West Eurasian wolves, which were domesticated independently of each other and gave birth to 2 distinct dog populations before going extinct.
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Mar 16, 2020 · Since prehistoric times, humans have had dogs by their side. Evidence suggests that 14,000 years ago our furry companions were buried alongside us. But at what point did we begin to shape dogs through breeding? There is a rich dog breeding history into how our best friends began to be altered through generations by us.
- Two Domestications
- The Data: Early Domesticated Dogs
- Dogs as Persons
- Modern Breeds and Ancient Origins
- Theories of Modern Breed Origination
In 2016, a research team led by bioarchaeologist Greger Larson(Frantz et al. cited below) published mtDNA evidence for two places of origin for domestic dogs: one in Eastern Eurasia and one in Western Eurasia. According to that analysis, ancient Asian dogs originated from a domestication event from Asian wolves at least 12,500 years ago; while European Paleolithic dogs originated from an independent domestication event from European wolves at least 15,000 years ago. Then, says the report, at sometime before the Neolithic period (at least 6,400 years ago), Asian dogs were transported by humans to Europe where they displaced European Paleolithic dogs. That would explain why earlier DNA studies reported that all modern dogs were descended from one domestication event, and also the existence of evidence of two domestication event from two different far-flung locations. There were two populations of dogs in the Paleolithic, goes the hypothesis, but one of them—the European Paleolithic do...
The earliest confirmed domestic dog anywhere so far is from a burial site in Germany called Bonn-Oberkassel, which has joint human and dog interments dated to 14,000 years ago. The earliest confirmed domesticated dog in China was found in the early Neolithic (7000–5800 BCE) Jiahusite in Henan Province. Evidence for co-existence of dogs and humans, but not necessarily domestication, comes from Upper Paleolithic sites in Europe. These hold evidence for dog interaction with humans and include Goyet Cave in Belgium, Chauvet cave in France, and Predmosti in the Czech Republic. European Mesolithic sites like Skateholm(5250–3700 BC) in Sweden have dog burials, proving the value of the furry beasts to hunter-gatherer settlements. Danger Cave in Utah is currently the earliest case of dog burial in the Americas, at about 11,000 years ago, likely a descendant of Asian dogs. Continued interbreeding with wolves, a characteristic found throughout the life history of dogs everywhere, has apparentl...
Some studies of dog burials dated to the Late Mesolithic-Early Neolithic Kitoi period in the Cis-Baikal region of Siberia suggests that in some cases, dogs were awarded "person-hood" and treated equally to fellow humans. A dog burial at the Shamanaka site was a male, middle-aged dog which had suffered injuries to its spine, injuries from which it recovered. The burial, radiocarbon dated to ~6,200 years ago (cal BP), was interred in a formal cemetery, and in a similar manner to the humans within that cemetery. The dog may well have lived as a family member. A wolf burial at the Lokomotiv-Raisovet cemetery (~7,300 cal BP) was also an older adult male. The wolf's diet (from stable isotope analysis) was made up of deer, not grain, and although its teeth were worn, there is no direct evidence that this wolf was part of the community. Nevertheless, it too was buried in a formal cemetery. These burials are exceptions, but not that rare: there are others, but there is also is evidence that...
Evidence for the appearance of breed variation is found in several European Upper Paleolithic sites. Medium-sized dogs (with wither heights between 45–60 cm) have been identified in Natufian sites in the Near East dated to ~15,500-11,000 cal BP). Medium to large dogs (wither heights above 60 cm) have been identified in Germany (Kniegrotte), Russia (Eliseevichi I), and Ukraine (Mezin), ~17,000-13,000 cal BP). Small dogs (wither heights under 45 cm) have been identified in Germany (Oberkassel, Teufelsbrucke, and Oelknitz), Switzerland (Hauterive-Champreveyres), France (Saint-Thibaud-de-Couz, Pont d'Ambon) and Spain (Erralia) between ~15,000-12,300 cal BP. See the investigations by archaeologist Maud Pionnier-Capitan and associatesfor more information. A recent study of pieces of DNA called SNPs (single-nucleotide polymorphism) which have been identified as markers for modern dog breeds and published in 2012 (Larson et al) comes to some surprising conclusions: that despite the clear ev...
Scholars now agree that most of the dog breeds we see today are recent developments. However, the astounding variation in dogs is a relic of their ancient and varied domestication processes. Breeds vary in size from the one pound (.5 kilogram) "teacup poodles" to giant mastiffs weighing over 200 lbs (90 kg). In addition, breeds have different limb, body, and skull proportions, and they also vary in abilities, with some breeds developed with special skills such as herding, retrieving, scent detection, and guiding. That may be because domestication occurred while humans were all hunter-gatherers at the time, leading extensively migrant lifeways. Dogs spread with them, and thus so for a while dog and human populations developed in geographic isolation for a time. Eventually, however, human population growth and trade networks meant people reconnected, and that, say scholars, led to the genetic admixture in the dog population. When dog breeds began to be actively developed about 500 yea...Botigué LR, Song S, Scheu A, Gopalan S, Pendleton AL, Oetjens M, Taravella AM, Seregély T, Zeeb-Lanz A, Arbogast R-M et al. 2017. Ancient European dog genomes reveal continuity since the Early Neol...Frantz LAF, Mullin VE, Pionnier-Capitan M, Lebrasseur O, Ollivier M, Perri A, Linderholm A, Mattiangeli V, Teasdale MD, Dimopoulos EA et al. 2016. Genomic and archaeological evidence suggests a dua...Freedman AH, Lohmueller KE, and Wayne RK. 2016. Evolutionary History, Selective Sweeps, and Deleterious Variation in the Dog. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics47(1):73–96.Geiger M, Evin A, Sánchez-Villagra MR, Gascho D, Mainini C, and Zollikofer CPE. 2017. Neomorphosis and heterochrony of skull shape in dog domestication. Scientific Reports7(1):13443.
Once dogs were domesticated enough so that humans could handle them and control their breeding, we could start to tinker with and modify the species. Obviously, for personal and community security, the most effective dog is one with a loud, persistent bark. Thus, early humans began a selective breeding program to create such dogs.