Study: 2 Possible Locations for Origin of Domesticated Dogs
Dogs were the first domesticated animal, the only one to appear before people settled down to be farmers. They evolved from wolves that had begun to associate with people, perhaps drawn by food the people left behind.
The study drew on genetics and archaeological records. It included a complete genome from a dog that lived in Ireland about 4,800 years ago and more limited DNA from 59 European dogs that lived 14,000 to 3,000 years ago. The ancient DNA was compared to genetic data for 685 modern dogs.
The complex analysis led to this proposed scenario: Dogs arose from wolves in Asia and from a different wolf population in Europe or the Near East. Then, the Asian dogs traveled west along with humans. They arrived on the turf of the other dogs between about 6,000 and 14,000 years ago and partially replaced them or interbred with them, establishing a new population that is genetically different from Asian dogs.