Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Did Dogs Descend From Wolves? Find out If and How . . .

Hey everyone,

Thanks so much for dropping by my blog today to read about one of my favorite animals: Wolves. If you know a little about me, you know I'm a huge animal lover, and if you've read some of my books, you know I occasionally write about wolves.They're a fascinating subject for many reasons: One, they've lived on our planet for centuries. Two, on many occasions, they've been hunted to near extinction . . . Boo! Hiss! But wolves are survivors and with protection from many governments, they'll probably be here a lot longer than we are. So, did dogs descend from wolves?

Many researchers/scientists who have studied their DNA and evolution say without a doubt, yes.

The dog, Canis familiaris, is a direct descendant of the gray wolf, Canis lupus: In other words, dogs as we know them are domesticated wolves. Not only has their behavior changed; domestic dogs are different in form from wolves, mainly smaller and with shorter muzzles and smaller teeth.
This dog cranium to the left was discovered in Germany in 2010, next to Neolithic human remains. The skull is about 4,700 years old.

Darwin was wrong about dogs. He thought their remarkable diversity must reflect interbreeding with several types of wild dogs. But the DNA findings say differently. All modern dogs are descendants of wolves, though this domestication may have happened twice, producing groups of dogs descended from two unique common ancestors. How and when this domestication happened has been a matter of speculation. It was thought until very recently that dogs were wild until about 12,000 years ago. But DNA analysis suggests a date of about 130,000 years ago for the transformation of wolves to dogs. This means that wolves began to adapt to human society long before humans settled down and began practicing agriculture.

Prehistoric fossils suggest modern dogs evolved from a single population of wolves

The dogs of ancient Europe probably looked a lot like the mutts roaming Europe today, new DNA discoveries from dog fossils suggest. In the ongoing debate over how many times dogs were domesticated from wolves, this new study suggests it happened just once.

Dogs are the very first species that humans tamed, but the details surrounding dogs’ origins are a little fuzzy. Now, ancient DNA extracted from two 7,000-year-old and 4,700-year-old dog fossils discovered in Germany offer scientists a glimpse at dog evolution. Modern dogs probably descended from just one population that lived continuously in Europe for millennia.
Above, two gray wolves in the wild.

Another team extracted DNA from two more dog fossils discovered in Germany over the last 20 years. They recreated a canid family tree by comparing chunks of DNA from these ancient dogs and today’s purebreds, mutts, and wolves. By counting the genetic differences, and estimating how long it would take for those differences to show up, they could roughly date when each of these groups split apart. For wolves and dogs, that was roughly 20,000 to 40,000 years ago. For Eastern and Western dog populations, it was probably between 17,000 and 24,000 years ago. The two ancient German canines turned out to be genetically related to one another, and to the dogs of today despite living thousands of years apart.
Domesticated Siberian Husky on your right

Our furry friends likely evolved from a population of wolves domesticated sometime between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago. Exactly who domesticated these wolves, when, and how many times, is still a mystery, and scientists don’t agree on the answer. Dogs were probably domesticated by accident, when wolves began trailing ancient hunter-gatherers to snack on their garbage. Docile wolves may have been slipped extra food scraps, the theory goes, so they survived better, and passed on their genes. Eventually, these friendly wolves evolved into dogs.

 Now, a little about the Wolf I wrote about in Dark Night of the Moon, Book 2. (Moon of the Sleeping Bear is Book 1)

(May contain spoilers!)
One of the Native American characters dies in DNOTM and in a valiant attempt to reunite his kidnapped wife with their children, he takes the form of a WOLF.  I just love shifters, don't you?

Tagline from Moon of the Sleeping Bear (BOOK 1):
Twins separated at birth through the evil act of a midwife are reunited 20 years later when Fate steps in.

Tagline from Dark Night of the Moon (BOOK 2)

Sage has been kidnapped by savages. Can a stalking wolf and an ancient healer help her gain freedom?

Thanks so much for visiting today!

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