The largest study on ancient human and canine genomes, involving almost 30 Eurasian dogs, reveals man’s evolutionary and migratory shifts coinciding with those of his four-legged companions up to a time in history.
While there are amazing parallelisms between man and canine histories, these did not always overlap, leading to questions about disease, changing preferences, and cultural revolutions to explain this disconnect. Results also showed that animal domestication occurred even before canines evolved 11,000 years ago, and that, at that time, there already existed five distinct dog groups.
When or where exactly wolves started to be domesticated by humans, however, remains a mystery since, unlike canine genomes, human genomes do not reveal all his ancient origins. Other discoveries include the relation between Australian dingoes and Papua New Guinea’s singing dogs and between the Ancient Middle Eastern dogs to sub-Sahara African modern breeds, which coincided with the human migration to Africa at that time.
Also, a 10,900-year-old Russian breed was found to be distinct from succeeding primitive breeds in Europe, the Middle East, Siberia, and the US. Previously, most DNA studies were conducted only on modern dog breeds whose advent led to the disappearance of ancient dog genomes, leaving only six as scientific references.
To expand the genome pool, geneticists from Austria, UK, and the US conducted sequencing experiments on canine samples from Siberia, Middle East, and Europe, dated 100-11,000 years old, resulting in 27 more ancient genomes for this research.