Overview of Dog Domestication

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Dogs are currently the only large carnivore, and one of the only species from the canidae family, to have been domesticated. Although not much is known about the domestication of dogs with disagreements between when dog first became domesticated, the location they were first domesticated, and exactly how they became domesticated, one thing that is generally agreed upon is that dogs were the first ever animal to be domesticated.
Fossilized dog-like remains can be dated back to ~33,000BP (Before Present) with possibly the earliest verified dog remains dating 12,000 -11,000BP (Galibert et al 2011). In Goyet cave in Belgium, the remains of a dog skull which showed clear differentiation from that of wolves was discovered and dated at 31,700 BP by Accelerator Mass Spectrometry. The remains are presumed to resemble prehistoric dogs, and are identified as a Paleolithic dog (Galibert et al 2011). Despite these findings however, identifying the relative age of the earliest prehistoric dogs is difficult due to the fact that key morphological characteristics that differentiate Canis familiaris from Canis lupus were not fixed during the initial stages of domestication (Larson et al. 2012). To complicate this, the range of variation in ancient wolf populations is unknown, as is the amount of time it took for such traits to appear in dogs (Larson et al. 2012). Going from this, even though the morphological data on the fossilized remains found at the aforementioned sites suggest a prehistoric dog, it could be possible that the fossils represent either ancient wolves going through the initial stages of a domestication process, or a morphologically distinct population of wolves that have since become extinct (Larson et al. 2012). Regardless of the...

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...tion 10,000 years BP there was a more intense selection for dogs that were of a smaller size and who were more docile which allowed for close human contact (Wayne and vonHoldt 2012).

Works Cited

Axelsson, E., et al. 2013. The genomic signature of dog domestication reveals adaptation to a starch-rich diet. Nature 495(7441):360-364
Larson,G, et al. 2012. Rethinking dog domestication by integrating genetics, archeology, and biogeography. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109(23): 8878-8883
Wayne, R., and B. vonHoldt 2012. Evolutionary genomics of dog domestication. Mammalian Genome: Official Journal of the International Mammalian Genome Society 23(1-2):3-18
Galibert, F., P. Quignon, C. Hitte, , and C. André 2011. Toward understanding dog evolutionary and domestication history. Comptes Rendus. Biologies 334(3), 190-196.
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