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Quick Facts on How Dogs Became Man’s Best Friend

Throughout history, humans have relied on dogs’ special skills and unique talents. Today, they are used as companions, protectors, playmates, herders, blankets and hunting aids. And it’s even believed that dogs help us to cope with various mental disabilities. But not everyone is aware of how dogs became man’s best friend. Although we don’t have magic glasses through which to view the history of dog evolution as a movie, but scientists have already figured out many details regarding this topic.

The domestication of dogs was fueled via excess protein

Humans are not able to digest excessive protein on a regular basis. Instead, the human body relies mostly on fats and carbohydrates, however, wolves are able to survive brief timeframes via eating only a diet based on proteins. Throughout the last Ice Age (about 29,000 to 14,000 years ago) it is thought that primitive mankind began to feed their excess meat to nearby dog ancestors, in particular the ones that weren’t afraid of them.  This feeding process, along with no longer being afraid of humans, likely was a major influence in prehisotric dogs becoming man’s best friend.

When did man first domesticate dogs?

Mankind domesticated dogs long before they did any other type of animal. Humans began the process of domesticating sheep, boar, cows and goats a mere 10,000 years ago, while the strongest unquestionable archeological proof of a dog being buried alongside a human occurred in Germany 14,200 years ago. 

What was the ancestor to all dogs?

Modern-day dogs are part of a subspecies called Canis lupus familiaris. Scientists can track the origin of these animals to a strain of wolf living during the Pleistocene, which is now extinct. The dog’s ancestor is also shared with today’s gray wolf, known as Canis lupus. However, the precise breed of that ancestor has yet to be discovered.

When did dogs diverge from wolves?

Earlier genetic analysis had put the separation of wolves and dogs at in between 11,000 to 16,000 years in the past. However, more current genetic data has shown that Dog ancestors diverged from modern wolf ancestors 27,000 to 40,000 years ago.

Dog ancestor identification

Proto-dogs were quite comparable to a wolf, therefore it is difficult to tell the difference between a prehistoric dog and a wolf with certainty. There’s not one precise anatomical characteristic which makes it probable. Rather, scientists rely on slight differences in mitochondrial DNA, as well as dietary differences (identified in ancient bones) along with social shifts, like burying dogs with people.

Where did dog breeds come from?

Whilst a lot of prehistoric dogs looked extremely close to one another, brand-new species were created to take on certain human necessities, and the color and texture of their coats got more distinct. Several of those variations can be tracked to hybridization and crossbreeding of individual populations of dogs, as people traveled all over the world and brought canine companions with them, as well as ran into brand-new sorts of canids. Yet the majority of dog species are not really that old. These breeds happened due to introducing dog shows within Britain’s Victorian era. Since that timeframe, Britain has become a dog breeding center, and the initial official competitive dog shows happened in Newcastle during the middle of the 19th century.

When dogs took over the world

We can find dogs nearly anywhere on Earth. Scientists think they began traveling around the Earth, maybe alongside humans, around 20,000 years in the past. So as of 7,000 years in the past, dogs had begun to be seen just about anywhere.

The first dogs in Australia

Dingoes were Australia’s first dogs. These got transported to Australia via boats around 5,000 years in the past. After that, the Indigenous Australians formed bonds with these animals. They raised up dingo puppies as pets. They were treated to be human’s friends as well as guard them from other humans or supernatural creatures. Nowadays, the dingo is a wild dog and considered the top mammal predator, not counting people.

The first dogs in the Americas

Dogs showed up in North America a lot later than people. People are thought to have come to North America nearly 20,000 years in the past. One piece of the puzzle regarding migration of dogs to North and South America is a very small, ancient fragment of bone discovered in Southeast Alaska. The piece of a femur bone is merely ten thousand years old.

What people ate played a part in dogs’ evolution

About 8,000 years in the past, a lot of humans started to give up being nomads, and become farmers. People eating more starchy foods is often connected to agriculture – such as the practice of growing rice and wheat. Scientists in 2013 isolated the gene linked to the shift from the wolf’s more carnivorous diet to the dog’s more starchy diet. Those findings indicated that new adaptations permitting today’s dogs’ early ancestors to flourish eating diets heavy in starch, in comparison to the wolves’ meaty diet, represented a vital step in the start of domesticating dogs.

Where did dogs come from?

These days there’s two possible scenarios in regards to the place dogs first became domesticated. Anthropologists, geneticists and archaeologists combined their mutual resources and then sequenced the genomes of ancient wolves gathered from places all over North America, Siberia and Europe. These animals’ ages extend over the last 100,000 years. When doing a comparison of prehistoric wolves’ genomes along with some from both ancient as well as modern dogs, scientists discovered dogs are a lot more strongly linked to early wolves living in eastern Asia than the ones living in Europe. This shows that eastern Eurasia was their home territory. However, not a single one of the early wolves was shown to be dogs’ close ancestor. That means the genuine domestication site of dogs is still unknown. Plus the other scenario is early wolves from Europe seem to have some genes in common with today’s dogs living in Africa and western Eurasia, like the basenjis and several village dogs. This implies that European wolves either mated with a western populace of dogs sometime in the past or, more interestingly, experienced an entirely distinct domestication event. Therefore, it is not presently feasible to figure out which one of those two possibilities happened.

Undoubtedly, friendship with dogs played a major role in mankind’s history. And not merely in regards of their functional uses. Friendship with dogs has been demonstrated to improve humans’ physical as well as mental disabilities, along with reducing anxiety linked to loneliness, ageing, post-traumatic stress disorder, and autism. Possibly, that’s due to the fact being friends with dogs, as well as enjoying their protection has assisted humans in surviving and thriving for many many years.

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