Dog domestication in Europe is much older than we think

The subject of animal domestication has been a sensitive one throughout history, and that of wolves and dogs even more so! In fact, questions of chronology or geography are many, and what was established at one time may be questioned at the time of a new discovery. But when did we start domesticating dogs? A new study about a site located in Spain, in the Basque Country, brings forward new elements in the chronology of dogs in Europe.

The study published in Journal of archeology science of December 2022 explains the procedure for the evaluation of a humerushumerus of a canid found in a Spanish cave. The dogdog is a kind of animalkind of animal who, following him domesticationdomestication, has proven to be very close to people. The article also highlights the presence of dogs in funerary contexts in various Upper Palaeolithic cultures. However, this is still a sensitive topic with many gray areas.

Differentiate between dog breeds

The great difficulty is on the side of geneticgenetic animals found. We are talking about wolves, dogs, but also lines of animals. Currently, not all paleogeneticists agree among themselves aboutevolution of speciesevolution of species discussed only in the dates of their domestication.

Several prehistoric sites have identified what the study calls “proto-dogs” that resembled wolfdogs. Werewolves whose bones have been found in several places in Europe. In some cases, an additional difficulty exists: there are not necessarily any bones at the site, as for the footprint of a dog on the ground of the Chauvet cave. A discovery that revived publications on the human/kanine relationship years ago in ancient times.

A bone found in a cave in Spain in 1985

The study bone was discovered in a cave, and more precisely in a layerlayer corresponding to the Lower Magdalenian period. This stratum was not contaminated by other occupation levels. In this layer, many elements were discovered that confirm a local Magdalenian pottery industry as well as food remains. The bone found in 1985 was attributed to the wolf species at the time of its discovery. Thanks to morphological and then DNA analysis, this classification is ultimately closer to the dog in terms of species. To date, only three other dogs from the Upper Palaeolithic have been diagnosed in Europe with this double standard.

The dog was part of the Magdalenian hunter-gatherer groups

The conclusion of this article is that the Erralla cave animal, dating from about 17,410 to 17,096 BC, is one of the oldest in the family of Canis lupus know each other. This dog shares mitochondrial haplogroup C with other Magdalenian dogs that have been analyzed in Europe. The researchers then put forward the hypothesis that wolf domestication was possibly older in Europe than the dates currently proposed.

What is certain is that for thousands of years, dogs have not failed us, either in life or in research!

Our pet dogs are of European origin

Article by Quentin Mauguit, published November 20, 2013

New twist in the evolutionary history of our dogs. According to new genetic tests conducted onfossil DNAfossil DNAour four-legged friends all have a European ancestor that was domesticated by hunter-gatherers 32,100 to 18,800 years ago.

Everyone agrees on this topic: our dogs are descended from domesticated wolves. On the other hand, debates are animated on the question of knowing where and when this event took place. For some, it is in Europe or Siberia. To prove this, paleontologists rely on fossils of canids more than 30,000 years old discovered in Belgium (Goyet cave) and in Altai (Razboinichya cave).

Opposite the camp is the geneticistsgeneticists who depend on the results of their divine sequencesequence. According to a study published in 2010, the domestication of canids began only 15,000 years ago, and it took place in the Middle East. When it was published, the study therefore ruled out a European, Siberian or Chinese origin. Yes, there are many contenders for the title! However, one detail should be clarified: only the DNA from dogs and gray wolfgray wolf modern was used to achieve this result.

This detail makes all the difference compared to the article that just appeared in the journal Science, of which Olaf Thalmann of the University of Turku (Finland) is the lead author. His team collaborated with Robert Wayne from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA, USA) to sequence themitochondrial DNAmitochondrial DNA of 18 Eurasian and American dogs and wolves that lived 36,000 to 1,000 years ago. The conclusion is unequivocal: one of the sources mentioned above is the right one.

Several attempts at domesticating canids have occurred

The genetic data collected were compared to those obtained from modern wild or domestic canids. Thanks to the reconstruction that was done, it turns out that all modern dogs on the planet have an ancestor… European. According to molecular dating, it was domesticated 32,100 to 18,800 years ago, therefore by hunter-gatherers.

The results prove another point: Humans have domesticated wolves on several occasions, with varying degrees of success. In fact, the oldest dogs found (in Belgium and Siberia) bear little relation to the ancestors of our faithful modern pets. This suggests that they were the subject of a failed domestication attempt. In reality, this result is not new, but it has been reconfirmed.

The study has been criticized for one detail: the researchers did not sequence theDNADNA mitochondrial from fossil remains discovered in China or the Middle East. According to the Nature News site, Olaf Thalmann wants to fill this gap, but he doesn’t think it will change the conclusion he showed us.

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