London, Aug 8 (IANS) Challenging previous research that suggested two domestication processes led to the modern dog, a new study led by an Indian-origin scientist says that all contemporary dogs have a common origin and emerged through a single domestication process of wolves 20,000 to 40,000 years ago.
The findings, published in the journal Nature Communications, are based on an analysis of the DNA of two prehistoric dogs from Germany. The researchers determined that their genomes were the probable ancestors of modern European dogs.
Only last year were researchers able to sequence the genome of a 5,000-year-old dog from Ireland using the latest paleogenomic techniques.
The results of the study led the research team at the University of Oxford to suggest dogs were domesticated not once but twice.
The research team also hypothesised that an indigenous dogs stock domesticated in Europe was replaced by incoming migrants independently domesticated in East Asia during the Neolithic period.
“Contrary to the results of this previous analysis, we found that our ancient dogs from the same time period were very similar to modern European dogs, including the majority of breed dogs people keep as pets,” Krishna Veeramah, Assistant Professor at the Stony Brook University, New York.
“This suggests that there was no mass Neolithic replacement that occurred on the continent and that there was likely only a single domestication process for the dogs observed in the fossil record from the Stone Age and that we also see and live with today.”
Veeramah and his colleagues used the older 7,000-year-old dog to narrow the timing of dog domestication to the 20,000 to 40,000 years ago range.
They found evidence that the younger 4,700-year-old dog represents a mixture of European dogs and a stock that resembles current Central Asian/Indian dogs.