Analysis of Siberian tooth suggests earlier domestication outside the Middle East
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — After analyzing the DNA from a fossilized dog tooth in southern Siberia, scientists say the tooth belonged to one of the oldest known ancestors of the modern dog, dating back about 33,000 years.
Scientists know that the domestication of dogs predates the beginning of the agricultural er about 10,000 years ago, and they’ve gradually come closer determining when dogs branched off from the wolves they’re descended from.
The new fossil find suggests a more ancient history of dogs outside the Middle East or East Asia, previously thought to be the centers where dogs originated.
The research by Anna Druzhkova from the Russian Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology and colleagues from other institutions was published last week in the open access journal PLOS ONE .
Some previous studies have suggested that this separation of domestic dogs and wolves occurred more than 100,000 years ago, but the oldest known fossils of modern dogs are only about 36,000 years old.
The analysis of the DNA suggests the “Altai dog” is more closely related to modern dogs and prehistoric canids found on the American continents than it is to wolves.