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The Domesticated Dog Controversy

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posted on Jan, 1 2018 @ 08:44 AM
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The Domesticated Dog Controversy

I started looking up information for a book and somehow that lead me to the origins of mans best friend. It seems the history of domesticated dogs is not so cut and dry. New studies and archeological findings have provided more questions than answers it seems. And as I started to dive into the subject matter, I decided to write down the ways that, so far, domesticated dogs could've came into existence.

There seems to be two different realms of thought with regards to their history. Each one having supporting evidence to back it. So far as I can tell, neither of them have been proven. Which makes it even more complicated as the theories are polar opposites of each other.

So, a sort of tribute to our furry little friends. Whichever hypothesis you believe, the end result is still the same, dogs have become an invaluable part of our day to day lives and are definitely are an integral part of the family.

Hypothesis One: Dogs 16,000 to 10,000 years ago.

Some anthropologists beleive that the domesticated dog first came into existence when Homosapiens began to establish settlements and practice agriculture. Although there is evidence presented by paleontologists that the first true dog, distinct from wolves, were around much, much longer than that. Roughly 30 to 40 million years ago.

Dogs were domesticated, probably through two or more independent lines, in Europe and the Middle East some 10,000 to 12,000 years ago (Turnbull and Reed 1974; Davis and Valla 1978; Benecke 1987). Evidence suggests that they were ultimately derived from wolves (Canis lupus), although the origin of actual parent population(s) has been the subject of controversy ...


Most scientists had previously argued the domestication of dogs, from tamed wolves, began with the rise of agriculture, 10,000 years ago, though other research has suggested it began earlier, around 15,000 years ago ...


We find that none of the wolf lineages from the hypothesized domestication centers is supported as the source lineage for dogs, and that dogs and wolves diverged 11,000–16,000 years ago in a process involving extensive admixture and that was followed by a bottleneck in wolves. ...


Basically, what is being said is domesticated dogs didn't exist until we developed permanent shelter and agriculture. That was roughly 10,000 - 15,000 years ago according to archeological finds of shared dog/human gravesites. There have been older burial sites found recently that could possibly move that to a much earlier time frame though.

Dogs descended from wolves

This is a sub category that is/has been accepted by most anthropologists. Dogs are direct descendents of the same line as the modern day wolf. They branched off around 10,000 years ago and were domesticated at that time. There is evidence to support this claim.

"The genetic data strongly suggest that the wolf is the progenitor of the domestic dog," Wayne says. Dog gene sequences differ from those of wolves by at most 12 nucleotide substitutions, whereas dog sequences differ from coyote and jackal sequences by at least 20 substitutions and two insertions. Coyotes and jackals are thus "very different [genetically] from wolves and dogs,," Wayne says ...


"Nowadays, based on a growing body of anatomical, genetic, and behavioral evidence, most experts believe that the dog originatedexclusively from a single species: the gray wolf, Canis lupus," Serpell told Life's Little Mysteries. ...


A good majority of sites still quote that as being the time frame. Some have expanded the time frame to between 10,000 and 30,000 years, but still the general consensus is dogs came from the grey wolf. There is speculation as to where their country of origin is. East Asia, Mongolia, Siberia, Europe and Africa are what the top picks are currently. With new nuclear and genetic data being collected, all this may very well change though.

continued...




posted on Jan, 1 2018 @ 08:45 AM
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Hypothesis Two: Dogs 33,000 years ago

There is another hypothesis that has come to light in recent years regarding earlier domestication. This one relies heavily on previous and new archeological findings, as well as gene study. And it pushes the domestication of dogs back into the early stone age. The premise is that dogs were domesticated while we were still hunter/gatherers. Somewhere between 32 and 35 thousand years ago.

For example, several different geographical regions have been proposed as the birthplace of domestic dogs, and the date of divergence between wolves and dogs has been estimated between 32 000 years ago and 10 000 years ago6,8,9,10, with relatively weak gene flows found between these two groups since their divergence4,6,7,9. The exact history of dog domestication thus remains to be fully resolved...



But Shipman places it before the last Ice Age, pointing to recent discoveries of 33,000-year-old fossil remains of dogs in Siberia and Belgium. Although they look quite like wolves, the fossils also show clear signs of domestication: snouts that are shorter, jaws that are wider and teeth that are more crowded than those of a wild wolf...


Dogs Descended from Dogs/extinct species

A study done on the DNA of the three wolf species that originate in the three locations that dogs were thought to have developed in shows dogs didn't have specific dna markers of these wolves, and it was concluded that wolves may NOT be the progenitor of dogs. There are two possible reasons for how dogs came to be listed:

A. They came from a now extinct species of wolf or

B. They branched off at the same point as wolves did, and they became their own species.


a team led by Olaf Thalmann from the University of Turku in Finland analyzed mitochondrial DNA from 18 fossil canids. They compared these ancient sequences to those from 49 modern wolves and 77 modern dogs, and built a family tree that charts their relationships.
The tree conclusively pinpointed Europe as the major nexus of dog domestication. It identified four clades of modern dogs, which are all most closely related to ancient European canids rather than wolves from China or the Middle East. “We didn’t expect the ancestry to be so clearly defined,” Thalmann told The Scientist.

“This suggests that the population of wolves in Europe that gave rise to modern dogs may have gone extinct, which is plausible given how humans have wiped out wolves over the centuries,” he added.

According to this new tree, the largest clade of domestic dogs last shared a common ancestor 18,800 years ago, and collectively, they last shared a common ancestor with a wolf around 32,100 years ago. They must have been domesticated at some point during this window.
These molecular dates fit with fossil evidence. The oldest dog fossils come from Western Europe and Siberia, and are thought to be at least 15,000 years old. By contrast, those from the Middle East and East Asia are believed to be 13,000 years old, at most. “The archaeologists would be happy,” said Larson.

The dates also make it unlikely that dogs were domesticated during the Agricultural Revolution, which took place millennia later. Instead, they must have first associated with European hunter-gatherers. They may have assisted humans in bringing down large prey, or could simply have scavenged leftover carcasses. Either way, their association with humans grew stronger and stronger, until they eventually evolved into domestic dogs ...

So now we are looking at a true separation of dog and wolf long before the agriculture revolution. This information/hypothesis is rather new. The latest findings being released in 2015 I believe. Although there is still a chance that dogs are direct descendants of wolves, it would be an extinct species and not one of modern day lineage.

After reading through all this info and chasing down as many sources as I could, to me it seems like the truth could be somewhere in the middle. Dogs broke off into their own species around 33,000 years ago, but they also were still able to breed with wolves. Eventually through interbreeding and cross breeding we get all the different species of dogs we have today.

Cross breeding and interbreeding is listed as one reasons the debate about the origins of dogs is still ongoing. Charles Darwin wrote:

This point, if it could be cleared up, would be interesting; if, for instance, it could be shown that the grey-hound, bloodhound, terrier, spaniel, and bull-dog, which we all know propagate their kind so truly, were the offspring of any single species, then such facts would have great weight in making us doubt about the immutability of the many very closely allied and natural species

The whole subject must, I think, remain vague; nevertheless, I may, without here entering on any details, state that, from geographical and other considerations, I think it highly probable that our domestic dogs have descended from several wild species ...

So far, Darwin's hypothesis has been proven wrong about dogs coming from more than one species. But, he was facing the same dilemma back then as we are now, crossbreeding an geographical locations making it difficult to pinpoint their true origins. What he did get right is that the whole subject has remained vague.

Continued...



posted on Jan, 1 2018 @ 08:46 AM
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Commensalism and Self Domestication
There is still one thing that both theories agree on: the self domestication of dogs. Well, sort of. This go backs to the time frames again. In the first hypothesis, it was believed that dogs (then wolves), oh hell, let me just quote it:

The old Raymond Coppinger hypothesis on dog domestication, which posits that the dog evolved from the wolf during the early days of agriculture. According to this hypothesis, the dog is a self-domesticating animal that evolved solely from wolves losing their fear of humans in order to scavenge from our trash heaps. The logic here is that starches were only a big part of the human diet only when we began to farm, and if dogs have these adaptations, then it must mean that they were domesticated in agrarian societies...

The other hypothesis is that they may have formed a commensal relationship with Homosapiens. Around 33,000 years ago, the wolf and dog species split from a now extinct species. From that point forward, dogs (or wolves, depending what hypothesis you beleive) and humans were interacting and eventually became dependent on one another for food, hunting, and safety. Out of necessity, both species "teamed up" and survived throughout the ages to become the great friends we are today. One anthropologist even suggests that the extinction of the Neanderthals was due to our alliance with dogs.

Some scientists blame climate change. Most argue that modern humans – armed with superior skills and weapons – were responsible. Shipman agrees with the latter scenario, but adds a twist. We had an accomplice: the wolf.
Modern humans formed an alliance with wolves soon after we entered Europe, argues Shipman. We tamed some and the dogs we bred from them were then used to chase prey and to drive off rival carnivores, including lions and leopards, that tried to steal the meat.
“Early wolf-dogs would have tracked and harassed animals like elk and bison and would have hounded them until they tired,” said Shipman. “Then humans would have killed them with spears or bows and arrows.
“This meant the dogs did not need to approach these large cornered animals to finish them off – often the most dangerous part of a hunt – while humans didn’t have to expend energy in tracking and wearing down prey. Dogs would have done that. Then we shared the meat. It was a win-win situation”...


More info on this idea can be found in Pat Shipman's book, The Invaders: How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction. I was unable to find a free copy anywhere.

That's all I've been able to find really. Tons and tons of speculation with hard evidence to support each hypothesis. But it doesn't seem like anyone can say with 100% certainty that any of it is correct. I guess this is a work in progress and as our science advances, so will our understanding of the dogs origins.

As always thanks for reading and Happy New year as well!
blend

Additional Links:

Nature Article
Mans Best Friendship Goes Back 14000 Years
Origin of Domestic Dogs
Did Dogs Evolve From Wolves?
Origin of Domestic Dog
PDF



posted on Jan, 1 2018 @ 08:52 AM
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The thing is that dogs and wolves are not that far apart. They still interbreed and produce fertile offspring which can breed back to either parent species.

Consider ligers or mules which cannot really do that. Those two hybrids show that horses and donkeys or lions and tigers are much further apart in evolutionary terms.

So the further back they try to push it, the harder it is to envision particularly with our tendency for selective breeding those creatures we have domesticated in order to enhance charactistics we find desirable.



posted on Jan, 1 2018 @ 09:00 AM
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For any animal, especially one with cubs, being beside the light of a warm fire with humans around and getting scraps of meat would be a lot preferable than being in the cold darkness worrying about every sudden noise. It would also be tempting for some humans to adopt cute cuddly furry wolf cubs.



posted on Jan, 1 2018 @ 09:11 AM
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a reply to: stormcell

And with the pack instincts of wolves/dogs, domesticating them is easier than it is with cats. You can socialize a kitten by raising it, but the resulting cat will always be more independent because cats are more solitary by nature, less dependent on the society of other individuals for their own survival.

That trait was key to the dog's domestication.



posted on Jan, 1 2018 @ 09:12 AM
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Very interesting OP and I offer another possibility. What if it is missing human history that obfuscates the dogs origin? In both theories it is assumed humans didn’t have a significant civilization before 12000 or so years ago. It is possible even probably we did.



posted on Jan, 1 2018 @ 09:17 AM
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a reply to: blend57

First off, thanks for this thread.

Secondly; it has been shown that breeding for personality traits (neoteny, and non-aggression) can change physical characteristics of canids. Russian fox experiment I'm surprised why this didn't show up in your research, as it's very important to understanding the "why" of how dogs don't look like wolves anymore.

Some of the sighthound breeds are amongst the oldest known companion/hunting animals. Sighthounds and primitive... with cave paintings showing them participating in hunts.


It's quite interesting to think about the curiosity of both early hominids and wolves. Did wolves scavenge off of kills that early hominids couldn't completely use? Did a group of wolves follow particular groups of humans? Did they eventually become habituated to a single group of humans? Or did several groups of canids follow several groups of humans in a convergent but separate way? So many questions...

I think the answers lie more in the behaviors of the more primitive dogs; basenji, azawakh and other African sighthounds. You can see in their behaviors a certain interdependence with their humans...the dogs have the speed, the mobility, the senses to provide security in the form of loud barking and aggression, as well as chasing down wounded prey, or the stamina required in chasing down prey that is too fast for humans to even approach within weapon distance.

The canid recieves the benefit of added security for it's pack, as well as a certain amount of shelter, not to mention a small amount of protection from parasites.



posted on Jan, 1 2018 @ 09:28 AM
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a reply to: blend57

Watched a decent documentary you might like


And Man Created Dog

Wolves > Camp Wolves > Proto Dog.



posted on Jan, 1 2018 @ 10:15 AM
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a reply to: blend57

Interesting information Blend.
Love my doxle.
Which hypothesis do you subscribe to?
Interesting that there seems to be some similarities (I may be making connections up) between the domestication of dogs and cats.



posted on Jan, 1 2018 @ 10:25 AM
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a reply to: blend57


Awesome thread Blend, this has been an area of interest for me for some time. I'm going to dig into some of your sources to learn more.

There's a movie coming out in February called Alpha which is a dramatized origin story of the 'first dog'. The trailer looked interesting and it appears they go with the latter hypothesis that it began earlier prior to agrarian society.



posted on Jan, 1 2018 @ 12:14 PM
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In the last few weeks I've seen new cave painting discoveries of leashed dogs on a hunt and they say it's 10s of thousands of years earlier than thought but for the life of me I cannot find the article again.
I think early man saw the potential of a dogs/wolfs help in a hunt and went out of his way to "steal" some cubs and domesticate them. Rather than an accidental meeting and gradual friendship for mutual benefit.



posted on Jan, 1 2018 @ 01:32 PM
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probably both and all 3 why does it need to be just one both man and wolfs do many things .
no dout wolfs would have followed man as man was darn good at hunting big game and no dout man would have followed wolfs around as wolfs are very good at hunting smaller game .

Now a wolf has no ware near a mans intelligence but does not need it to know a good thing ( meat ) .
A man does not need a collage degree to know a good thing when he sees it .
( this animal can run fast and hunts in packs cutting animals out .

I am sure some wolfs pups were stolen and some wolfs joined mans camps on there own and some were long after the fact when man developed farming and realized wolfs could be used to herd .

Humans dont just invent a thing once its reinvented many times in many places sometimes over 1000s or years othyers all at teh same time .



posted on Jan, 1 2018 @ 01:41 PM
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originally posted by: kelbtalfenek
a reply to: blend57

First off, thanks for this thread.

Secondly; it has been shown that breeding for personality traits (neoteny, and non-aggression) can change physical characteristics of canids. Russian fox experiment I'm surprised why this didn't show up in your research, as it's very important to understanding the "why" of how dogs don't look like wolves anymore.

Some of the sighthound breeds are amongst the oldest known companion/hunting animals. Sighthounds and primitive... with cave paintings showing them participating in hunts.

I think the answers lie more in the behaviors of the more primitive dogs; basenji, azawakh and other African sighthounds. You can see in their behaviors a certain interdependence with their humans...the dogs have the speed, the mobility, the senses to provide security in the form of loud barking and aggression, as well as chasing down wounded prey, or the stamina required in chasing down prey that is too fast for humans to even approach within weapon distance.


Thanks for the additional links. I can honestly say that I never came across them in my searches. The Russian fox experiment was an interesting read. I did read several times about the dog breeding info. Even that is a bit controversial with regards to when the earliest known domesticated dog came into existence as well as how they became domesticated. If I would've included all that though, the thread would've been a page or two longer. Thanks!


originally posted by: Lysergic
a reply to: blend57

Watched a decent documentary you might like
And Man Created Dog
Wolves > Camp Wolves > Proto Dog.

I found this one:

Is that it? There were others, this one is 5 hours long.. Thanks for the info!


originally posted by: TNMockingbird
a reply to: blend57
Interesting information Blend.
Love my doxle.
Which hypothesis do you subscribe to?
Interesting that there seems to be some similarities (I may be making connections up) between the domestication of dogs and cats.

Currently, from all the stuff I read including the Paleontology findings, I think that they come from an extinct ancestor and have been around for much longer than 30,000 years. But, I'm still looking and it is difficult to sort through everything. I haven't checked into the cats, only so much as to know they are believed to be domesticated 7000 years ago. But it may be the same case as dogs. Thanks !

originally posted by: AugustusMasonicus
a reply to: blend57

this has been an area of interest for me for some time. I'm going to dig into some of your sources to learn more.

There's a movie coming out in February called Alpha which is a dramatized origin story of the 'first dog'. The trailer looked interesting and it appears they go with the latter hypothesis that it began earlier prior to agrarian society.
I checked out the page. It looks like it'll be an awesome movie. And I hope at least a few sources are helpful to you. Thanks!

Thanks everyone for the interest and responses. A lot of good thoughts were presented and you definitely gave me a lot more info to read through/digest. I appreciate it!

blend



posted on Jan, 1 2018 @ 01:53 PM
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Nice thread, may I add more to it to?

Which Came First, Tibetan Spaniels or Pekingese?

This discusses the smaller breeds branching from a small hunting dog:

Professor Ludvic von Schulmuth studied canine origins by studying the skeletal remains of dogs found in human settlements as old as the Paleolithic (about 10,000 years ago). Much as physical anthropologists have traced the evolution of man through such studies, the Professor created a genealogical tree of Tibetan dogs.

It shows that the “Gobi Desert Kitchen Midden Dog” (i.e., scavenger) evolved into the “Small Soft-Coated Drop-Eared Hunting Dog” which then evolved into the Tibetan Spaniel followed by the Pekingese and Japanese Chin. Another branch coming down from the “Kitchen Midden Dog” (but not the same branch as the Tibbie) gave rise to the Papillon and Long-haired Chihuahua and yet another “Kitchen Midden Dog” branch to the Pug and Shih Tzu. The Professor places the Lhasa Apso, Tibetan Terrier and Tibetan Mastiff elsewhere, coming not from the “Kitchen Midden Dog” but from the “Large Spitz-Type Dog” which evolved into the “Heavy-Headed Dog that Moved North.”


Continued...


The truth is that no one knows nor is it likely that we will ever know for sure when and how the Tibetan breeds evolved. Even if we accept that Professor von Schulmuth’s genealogy is correct, I believe strongly that the Tibetan dogs intermixed, even as they do in Tibet today and certainly must have throughout history!!

Source
I agree with this, such as the past and modern breeding of the Shih Tzu which is a mix between the Lasha Apso and the Pekingese even the Pug(additional info).



posted on Jan, 1 2018 @ 03:10 PM
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a reply to: blend57
Many thanks for providing us with a detail well-researched thread that is easy to read and follow. I would give you one million stars if I didn't have to pay taxes on the transaction.

Keep up the good work.

My vote is towards the theory that dogs came from an extinct line of wolves. I've tried asking a few dogs about this but none of them will say anything about it.

edit on 1 1 2018 by LookingForABetterLife because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 1 2018 @ 03:59 PM
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Excellent thread


I find it hard to belive that humans took until about 10kya to befriend dogs and much favour the idea that it was at least around the onset of the last ice age/lgm, and probably encouraged by this due to pack behaviour, privation and both having the smarts to see the advantages.

I'm not sure what the earliest known art is that depicts humans and dogs in unison. I'd expect to have seen it all the european cave art of 20kya to 40kya but i'm not sure i recall any though ofc it may just not have been found yet.

One of the cool parts is we all know that maybe a fifty thousand years ago there simply had to be folk out there who had a wolf buddy running through the hills and forests with them. Makes me kinda well up!
edit on 1-1-2018 by skalla because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 1 2018 @ 04:29 PM
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Great OP, this is the stuff of a million stars


It doesn't really matter when domesticated dogs cropped up, we just need to acknowledge that we went from majestic wolves to retarded, inbred canines over time by comparison. From a point of simple observation, simply compare the domesticated dog to the wild wolf, it's actually very sad. We may have domesticated 'em, but we also ruined 'em.
edit on 1/1/2018 by Nyiah because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 2 2018 @ 12:19 AM
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Wolves were wolves until they realized that humans had soft, comfy sofas and beds. Then they became dogs.



posted on Jan, 2 2018 @ 08:12 AM
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a reply to: blend57

Interesting that they place dog domestication in Europe, and as much as 32,000 years ago.

That's just a few thousand years from the last Neanderthals at 40,000 years ago.

It would be funny if Neanderthal domesticated the dog, and humans just stole them.




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