Siberian fossil revealed to be one of the oldest known domestic dogs

Mar 06, 2013

Analysis of DNA extracted from a fossil tooth recovered in southern Siberia confirms that the tooth belonged to one of the oldest known ancestors of the modern dog, and is described in research published March 6 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Anna Druzhkova from the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Russian Federation, and colleagues from other institutions.

Human domestication of dogs predates the beginning of agriculture about 10,000 years ago, but when modern dogs emerged as a species distinct from wolves is still unclear. Although some previous studies have suggested that this separation of and wolves occurred over 100,000 years ago, the oldest known fossils of modern dogs are only about 36,000 years old.

The new research published today evaluates the relationship of a 33,000 year old Siberian fossil to modern dogs and wolves based on DNA sequence. The researchers found that this fossil, named the 'Altai dog' after the mountains where it was recovered, is more closely related to modern dogs and prehistoric canids found on the American continents than it is to wolves.

They add, ""These results suggest a more ancient history of the dog outside the Middle East or East Asia, previously thought to be the centers where dogs originated."

Explore further: Mammoth and mastodon behavior was less roam, more stay at home

More information: Druzhkova AS, Thalmann O, Trifonov VA, Leonard JA, Vorobieva NV, et al. (2013) Ancient DNA Analysis Affirms the Canid from Altai as a Primitive Dog. PLoS ONE 8(3): e57754. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057754

Related Stories

Genetic study confirms: First dogs came from East Asia

Nov 23, 2011

Researchers at Sweden's KTH Royal Institute of Technology say they have found further proof that the wolf ancestors of today's domesticated dogs can be traced to southern East Asia -- findings that run counter to theories ...

Small dogs originated in the Middle East

Feb 23, 2010

A genetic study has found that small domestic dogs probably originated in the Middle East more than 12,000 years ago. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Biology traced the evolutionary histor ...

Recommended for you

Radar search to find lost Aboriginal burial site

14 hours ago

Scientists said Tuesday they hope that radar technology will help them find a century-old Aboriginal burial ground on an Australian island, bringing some closure to the local indigenous population.

Archaeologists excavate NY Colonial battleground

Jul 19, 2014

Archaeologists are excavating an 18th-century battleground in upstate New York that was the site of a desperate stand by Colonial American troops, the flashpoint of an infamous massacre and the location of the era's largest ...

User comments : 0