Siberian huskies, Greenland sled dogs share DNA with today’s canine companions

Dogs are a much older human companion than previously believed. (iStock)
Dogs are a much older human companion than previously believed. (iStock)
Dogs have been “man’s best friend” long before humans settled down through the advent of agriculture.

Swedish researcher Love Dalén speaks to Radio Sweden about this fascinating new discovery.

Swedish researchers have discovered that the dog may have become a human companion much earlier than previously believed. The analysis of a Siberian jaw fragment indicates the process where wolves evolved into dogs was underway 35,000 years ago.

The “Taimyr” wolf bone in the study, shows that the animal was the most recent common ancestor of wolves and modern dogs, and carbon 14 dating put its age at 35,000 years. The modern domesticated dog would have developed from there, and Love Dalén and the other researchers put that date at 27,000 years ago.

DNA analysis also showed that modern Siberian huskies and Greenland sled dogs have an unusually large number of genes in common with the Taimyr wolf.

The study was published in the journal Current Biology.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Struggle to control dangerous stray dogs across northern Canada, Radio Canada International

Finland:  Reindeer glitter to improve road safety in Finland, Yle News

Norway:  Finnmarksløpet 2015 dog sledge race underway in Europe, Barents Observer

Russia:  Service reindeer for police in Russia’s Arctic, Barents Observer

Sweden: Bear hunt quota worries reindeer herders in Sweden’s Arctic, Radio Sweden

United States: Wildfires could threaten Arctic caribou herd’s winter habitat: study, Alaska Dispatch

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