Ancient humans and dogs moved around together...most of the time

The largest-ever study of ancient genomes from the dogs released its findings in October 2020. 

As early as 11,000 years ago, there were already five distinct dog lineages,  these gave rise to canines in the Near East, northern Europe, Siberia, New Guinea, and the Americas

Today’s dogs can trace their ancestry to canines that lived up to 11,000 years ago.

For example, genomes of tibetan mastiff shows the predominant ancestry sources are Steppe Bronze Age and New Guinea Singing Dog

Because dogs had already diversified so much by that time, “domestication had to occur long before then. That fits with archaeological evidence: The oldest definitive dog remains come from Germany about 15,000 to 16,000 years ago.

Sometimes, the dogs’ travels paralleled people’s. In many places, there is a strong overlap between human and dog genomes. For example, farmers and their pups in Sweden about 5000 years ago both trace their ancestry to the Near East. This suggests early farmers took their dogs with them as agriculture spread throughout the continent. “Writ large, as humans moved, they moved with their dogs,” 

But sometimes the stories didn’t match up. Farmers in Germany about 7000 years ago also came from the Near East and also lived with dogs. But those animals seem more similar to hunter-gatherer pups, which came from Siberia and Europe. That suggests many early migrants adopted local dogs that were better adapted to their new environment

Dogs are one of the biggest enigmas of domestication.  Despite decades of study, scientists still haven’t figured out when or where they arose, much less how or why it happened. 

Excerpt from Science: How dogs tracked their humans across the ancient world by David Grimm October 2020

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