Where Did Dogs Come From?
Where Did Dogs Come From? To be passionate about our beloved Dog companions it is only sensible to learn of their unique heritage. I started at my local library and found close to sixty or seventy book on dogs; training, health, companionship, and books on individual breeds each supporting the awesome benefits and contributions that the domestic dog has given us humans.
I found some controversy as to when our partnership with the dog first occurred. Precisely when the relationship formed between man and dog or man and wolf, is impossible to establish, but the dog was most likely the first animal to be domesticated. There is archaeological evidence in the form of cave paintings, fossil records, and excavations that reveal human and canine remains in close proximity. That would suggest that man had been living side by side with the wolf for many thousands of years. Due to the release in 2008, a team of international scientists released findings from an excavation at Goyet Cave in Belgium declaring a large, toothy canine existed 31,700 years ago. The acceptable average seems to be as long ago as 125,000 to 150,000 years, probably longer.
Being a prehistoric event some speculation is required to reach any kind of understanding of the domestication of the dog.
We do know and can scientifically prove the domestic Dog is a carnivorous mammal that belongs to the family of Canidae, Canis lupus familaris. Other members include such animals as wild dogs and foxes, and the genus Canis, includes the coyote, jackals, and wolves. So in short your dog evolved from the Grey Wolf. The Grey Wolf passed many traits to our domestic dogs such as his sophisticated form of social cognition and communication skills.
It is largely accepted that the wolf dog split probably occurred around 15,000 to 20,000 years ago during the Upper Paleolithic period over a vast geographic range. During this period both man and wolf were nomads; controlled by their source of food and many theorize that wolves would gather around the campsites of the paleolithical man to scavenge looking for an easy meal; perhaps the wolf sought safety in numbers, but this time certainly gave way for breeding.
Humans would have benefited from the dog (wolf) association on many levels such as; protection, companionship, loyalty, territory, herding and hunting.
By the end of the ice age, man began to settle and abandon their former nomadic way of life and most certainly realized the value of their new wolf companions. The wolf pack and the man pack had such similar lifestyles, living in small social groups, a companionate social hierarchy, they hunted together, they sleep together, and all while taking care of their young. Their social adapting is credit to their species.
By the Neolithic period, dog had been successfully domesticated. Humans begin domesticating various wild cereal crops, and various animals that could now be regarded as their livestock. There is archaeological evidence which reveals differences in the sizes and shapes of dogs and this suggest that selective breeding had already begun as far back as 10,000 years ago. The oldest remains of a domesticated dog in America were found in southwest Texas in the 1970s and a carbon dating test put the age to about 9,400 years ago. Then DNA analysis confirmed the bones came from a dog and not a wolf. As stated by Samuel Belknap III, whom discovered the fragment.
As humans have grown and became increasingly civilized so has the dog. The domestic dog have adapted alongside us for thousands of years and today they still are one of our most precious assets. A process of continual refinement had begun for our beloved dog.
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