After that domination event, some things have remained constant. According to the team’s results, after separating dogs from wolves 11,000 years ago, wolves never had a great reverence in the dog population (unless, perhaps, a contemporary craze for the Wolfdog). Given the fact that dogs and wolves belong to the same species and produce perfectly healthy offspring, this discovery became a surprise to the authors. He hypothesized the result that some wolves are equally related to all ancient and modern dogs, indicating that all dogs have the same amount of wolf ancestry. The logical explanation is that wolves did not contribute enough to the dog’s gene pool after domination. If, instead, the wolves had continued to interact with the dogs, the team would have expected to see that all the wolves were more closely related some Dogs – who were domesticated after wolves in their family trees – compared to others who had only ancestors of dogs.
But, for some reason, the opposite happened when it comes to the wolf genome: dogs are universally more related to some wolves, as they are to others, which indicates that dogs did in fact have a wolf population. Genetic material was contributed. This asymmetry between dogs and wolves may be a simple explanation: humans. “It shows us,” Lindblad-Toh says, “that maybe people captured their dogs and took good care of them and made sure they wouldn’t let the wolves in.” Wolves had no such protector.
But Lisa People, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Genetics at the University of Cambridge who was not involved in the study, believes it is important to put this result in perspective. She notes that the authors’ argument relies on some specific assumptions about how ancient wolves relate to modern wolves, assumptions that are impossible to confirm without directly studying ancient wolves. “The authors here rely on the notion that this has occurred on now-extinct wolf populations that have not been sampled, and is equally related to all modern-day wolf populations,” she says. “This may be the case, but it also may not be the case.”
This assumption, and assumptions about geographic and climatic stability that pass through Bergstrom and Frantz’s trade hypothesis, means that like similar studies of ancient dolphin DNA, their results and theories cannot be confirmed without additional research. Can. But, ultimately, the genomes of 27 dogs are a narrow window into the past: when dealing with such small amounts of data, assumptions become necessary. “DNA is DNA,” Bergstrum says. “It needs a wider context of interpretation.”
The lack of evidence, coupled with the difficulty of extracting high quality DNA from such old bones, may seem like a silly attempt at ancient DNA research – why not just obtain genetic samples from modern dogs and the family tree Be removed from there? But ancient DNA also has some distinct advantages over modern DNA, especially when it comes to dogs. Many contemporary dogs attribute their genetic profile to the craze of Victorian dog breeding, so the signature of their more distant past may be difficult to understand. Searching for evidence about ancient dogs in the genome of modern people is like a “search for the needle in the Lost”. So it can help to go directly to the source. “Ancient DNA,” says Lug, “literally we get this time-stamped genetic picture of the past.”
Therefore, while it may be difficult to know about prehistoric dogs by studying their modern descendants, the special insights expended by ancient DNA can provide invaluable context for understanding how humans today relate to dogs. “Dogs are so unique that they are a predator, a carnivore. “They were domesticated by hunter dogs before agriculture, and they were also able to spread so quickly,” says Bergstrom. “This is somehow a surprisingly good fit for the human species to take this animal as a companion – even though, a priori, it seems like an unexpected candidate for domination.” If Bergstrom and his colleagues are right, the human tradition of living, breeding and protecting dogs, and treating canine as a useful tool, not only as a useful tool, but as a source of social connection and emotional support, dates back to 11,000 years. History can happen. Before they can know how crops are cultivated, humans will know very well how to care for them, and how to take care of their animals.
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