We already know that humans and dogs have evolved together over time to become each other’s best friends. What we didn’t know was that humans might have domesticated dogs twice. According to a new study by the University of Oxford, dogs might not have moved from one region to the other, but instead they were domesticated twice on separate occasions and in separate geographical areas.
Researchers at the University of Oxford compared DNA of ancient and modern dogs and found a genetic difference between dogs from East Asia and Western Eurasia.
The study says the genetic split doesn’t seem to be coming from a group of domesticated pups that spread over time, but rather from two distinct groups.
They found this out by sequencing DNA from dog remains from a tomb in Newgrange, Ireland. The remains were 4,800 years old. Because they knew how old that dog was, they could use generational genetic changes to guess how long ago the split between East Asian and Western Eurasian dogs happened. They got a surprise when their research revealed that split would have happened when there were already dogs in both geographical areas. That means something else was at play – like two separate instances of domestication.
This extensively researched study is a big deal in the dog world because it’s the first time scientists have ever found proof of double doggy domestication. I mean, we’re not fully surprised though – doggies are so great, it’s not surprising people all over the planet wanted to be their BFFs.