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Dogs Descended from Wolf Pack on Yangtze River

Today's dogs are all descended from a pack of wolves tamed 16,000 years ago on the shores of the Yangtze river, according to new research

September 2, 2009

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It was previously known that the birthplace of the dog was eastern Asia but historians were not able to be more precise than that.

However, now researchers have made a number of new discoveries about the history of man's best friend - including that the dog appeared about 16,000 years ago south of the Yangtze river in China.

It has also been discovered that even though the dog has a single geographical origin it descends from a "large number of animals - at least several hundred tamed wolves, probable even more"...

Peter Savolainen, a biology researcher at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm and who led the study with a team of Chinese researches, said: "For the first time in world history it is possible to provide a detailed picture of the dog, with its birthplace, point in time, and how many wolves were tamed.

"This is a considerably more specific date and birthplace than had previously been put forward.

"Our earlier findings from 2002 have not been fully accepted, but with our new data there will be greater acceptance.

"The picture provides much more detail."

Researchers, writing in Molecular Biology and Evolution, also said that the time for the emergence of the dog conforms well with when the population in that part of the world went from being hunters and gatherers to being farmers, which was 10,000 to 12,000 years ago.

Mr Savolainen added: "The fact that there were so many wolves indicates that this was an important, major part of the culture.

"The findings provide several exciting theories.

"For example, the original dogs, unlike their later descendents in Europe, which were used as herders and guard dogs, probably ended their lives in the stomachs of humans."



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