Dogs Originated in Europe 18,000 Years Ago According To New Fossil Study
The cohabitation of dogs and humans is thought to have greatly improved the survival rate of early humans. The domestication of dogs is believed to have been one of the key forces that led to the success of early man. The presence of dogs in a human camp likely improved the sanitation as dog would have cleaned up food scraps that might have otherwise attracted predators or disease. Dogs may have also provided warmth to humans on very cold nights. Much like modern watch dogs, the barking of early dogs would have been an early warning alerting humans to the presence of predators or strangers approaching their camp. However, most anthropologists believe that the most significant benefit that early humans derived from the dog was the use of the dog in hunting game. The dog’s highly developed sense of smell would have been a valuable asset for locating prey.
A new fossil study suggests that domesticated dogs gradually evolved when European hunter-gatherers domesticated wolves more than 18,000 years ago. According to Robert Wayne, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology in University of California, Los Angeles. “This brings the genetic record into agreement with the archaeological record. Europe is where the oldest dogs are found.” Professor Wayne, who authored this new research further stated “We found that instead of recent wolves being closest to domestic dogs, ancient European wolves were directly related to them.” The domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is considered a subspecies of the gray wolf (Canis lupus), and is a member of the Canidae family of the mammalian order Carnivora.