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The Origin of Man's Best Friend

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For nearly 32,000 man has had a best friend in the canine. Dogs, once wild animals that would kill anything that moves, are now a common place in house holds around the world. Nowadays dogs are taken for granted, and after living with a companion for over 30,000 years its not surprising to take that companion for granted. But when did man get his best friend, and why? Was it simply that some guy at some point in time needed a heavy object dragged, and didn't want to do it himself? Perhaps some one wanted a companion. Only one thing can be said for sure, these furry guys are among the most beloved animals in the world, and are welcome in many, many homes.

Archaeological and genetic evidence shows that domestication began as late as 15,000 years ago, and as early as nearly 32,000 years ago. The original species domesticated at the time, was the gray wolf, or Canis lupus. Dog domestication began for a myriad of reasons, protection, food, fur, and to act as a beast of burden. Even today, domestication of dogs continues in numerous ways in order to create a 'better' companion. Originally, some authors wrote that dogs were descended from a species of wild dog, now extinct, that was distinct from wolves; this has since been disproved.

The earliest carnivorous fossils, that can be linked to some variation of wolf or fox, are the Miacids that lived during the Eocene period, approximately 38 to 56 million years ago. These miacids, evolved into to separate branches, a cat-like and a dog-like branch. Canis priscolatrans' were the first true wolves to roam North America, which evolved twice more; after one final evolution, the gray wolf was born. The exact subspecies of wolf that was domesticated has yet to be discovered, but the best carn...

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...tive answer; not a single theory provides an encapsulating answer. There is always some part of the theory that can not be answered. Science Mag says, “The geographic and temporal origins of the domestic dog remain controversial.”

Works Cited

Viegas, Jennifer. "World's first dog lived 31,700 ago, ate big." Science on NBCNEWS.com. NBCNEWS.com, 17 Octob 2008. Web. 24 Nov 2013.

Scott, John, and John Fuller. Dog Behavior: The Genetic Basis. 2, illustrated. University of Chicago Press, 1974. Print.

"Origin of the Domestic Dog." Wikipedia. Wikipedia. Web. 24 Nov 2013.

"The Fox Farm Experiment." ABC TV Science. ABC. Web. 24 Nov 2013. .

"Complete Mitochondrial Genomes of Ancient Canids Suggest a European Origin of Domestic Dogs."Science. AAAS, 3 Octob 2013. Web. 24 Nov 2013.
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