Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Why Dogs' Origins Are Still Mysterious

Humans' close relationship to dogs has so far obscured their history so much that it's not yet possible to use genetic data to tease out the details of their domestication, new research indicates.

Their complicated history involves being interbred, as well as transported around the world.

"There's a central irony here which is that because we love them so much, we've completely obliterated their early history and made it more difficult to understand their origins," researcher Greger Larson, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Durham in the United Kingdom, told LiveScience in an email.

Dogs were the first domesticated animal; however, many major questions about their domestication remain. For instance, it's still not clear how many times they were domesticated, where in the Old World this happened, and how many different wolf populations contributed to the modern global population of dogs.


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