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Mon Feb 11, 2013, 07:47 AM

Ancient wolf DNA to show how predator became man's best friend

Source: Telegraph uk

Ancient wolf DNA to show how predator became man's best friend

7:54AM GMT 11 Feb 2013

A study of ancient wolf bones and DNA could help scientists understand how the predators were tamed by our ancestors to become man's best friend.

The research could show that domestication took place 35,000 years ago, two and a half times longer ago than can currently be proven.

Experts are split on how the process began, with some insisting dogs were domesticated once in East Asia and spread from there, while others suggest it happened in several places at different times.


The project, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, will enable researchers from Durham and Aberdeen Universities to use the latest DNA techniques on bones, teeth and remains found across Asia and Europe.

.. More...

Read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/9861852/Ancient-wolf-DNA-to-show-how-predator-became-mans-best-friend.html#sections



Btw, wolves have been under
deadly assault.

http://www.defendersblog.org/2013/01/wolf-advocates-across-the-west/

18 replies, 2864 views

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 08:18 AM

1. it is absolutely fascinating

how we evolved together. Can give some real insight in to human evolution and cultural development.

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 08:24 AM

2. I like the junk yard dog hypothesis.

Mainly because the name is awesome.

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Response to longship (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 09:07 AM

5. agrees

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 08:26 AM

3. Interesting topic



I'm guessing that with time dna oddities gave rise to different breeds sorta like Scottish Fold cats which all go back to a single feral with a dna defect:

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 08:41 AM

4. More here on subject in general.

How Did Wolves Become Dogs? http://www.icr.org/article/6494/

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 09:27 AM

6. Molecular clock studies shows that the split between wolf and dog was 100,000 years ago

predating Cro-Magnon Man by about 60,000 years. (Neanderthals would therefore be the likely species to domesticate dogs.)

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Response to KurtNYC (Reply #6)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 10:07 AM

7. I suppose it would depend on where this occurred, not just when.

Europe, Eurasia, Siberia, East Asia, ???

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Response to KurtNYC (Reply #6)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 10:30 AM

8. That date doesn't say anything about domestication

The speculation I've seen is that one sub-species of wolf which arose at that time was more naturally docile, and that all of its members eventually took up hanging around with humans so that there are no remaining wild relatives.

It also seems that fully domesticated dogs -- the ones you can trust to herd the sheep or lie by the fireside -- only go back to the origins of agriculture in the Middle East. It's the thousands of years before that, when humans may have already been partnering with half-wild wolf-dogs, that are so much in question.

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:06 AM

9. There was this recent study linking domesticaton to grain consumption

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-01-23/national/36499716_1_raymond-coppinger-dog-evolution-dogs-and-humans

A team of Swedish researchers compared the genomes of wolves and dogs and found that a big difference is dogs’ ability to easily digest starch. On their way from pack-hunting carnivore to fireside companion, dogs learned to desire — or at least live on — wheat, rice, barley, corn and potatoes.

As it turns out, the same thing happened to humans as they came out of the forest, invented agriculture and settled into diets rich in grains.

“I think it is a striking case of co-evolution,” said Erik Axelsson, a geneticist at Uppsala University. “The fact that we shared a similar environment in the last 10,000 years caused a similar adaptation. And the big change in the environment was the development of agriculture.”

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:36 AM

10. The old world wolf is a threat to people, the new world wolf is not. The fear of wolves

comes from our European ancestors. Not only did they bring the honey bee, they brought the fear of the wolf. In the Americas, the fear of the wolf is irrational.

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 01:04 PM

11. My beagle says they all started good but then the wolf clan went crazy.

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 01:09 PM

12. I read a theory many years ago that made a LOT of sense.

There is a common, but incorrect, notion that all of our ancestors were migratory prior to the invention of agriculture. In truth, the migratory tendencies of any particular group of humans was highly dependent on the environment around them and the abundance of the surrounding forage and wildlife. There have been countless ancient settlement sites found, especially in or near caves, that appear to have been populated year round, long before agriculture was invented. We have found evidence of deliberately formed long term settlements dating from at least 40,000 years ago, and there have been a few discoveries suggesting that Homo Erectus may have been constructing very primitive settlements as long as 400,000 years ago. Hunter gatherers were often nomads, but not always. Even when they were, there were almost unquestionably instances where they would settle in one place for months or years at a time before moving on again.

Wolves are extremely territorial animals, and wolf packs usually have a territorial range far larger than they need for survival. Early humans living inside of these relatively stable settlements would have probably existed inside the range of a single pack. Early humans were just as intelligent and observant as we are, and would have quickly realized this. It's entirely probable that the early humans would have come to recognize (and, humans being humans, probably even name) individual pack members. The wolves in turn, being naturally curious and highly intelligent, would have quickly realized that humans were dangerous prey and would have probably ignored early humans the same way they largely ignore bears and badgers today. They recognized that humans COULD be eaten, but that doing so was very dangerous.

Here's where the theory gets interesting. The initial human reaction to wolves would be to exterminate them. The wolves are dangerous and are potential competition when hunting. However, wiping out wolves is a neverending process. Wipe out one pack, and another will move in. Wolves are always looking for new territory, and no pack is going to ignore a large swath of empty land. Those new packs were extremely dangerous, as they wouldn't have been adapted to humans and would have needed to "re-learn" the lesson about humans being risky prey.

It wouldn't have taken humans long to realize that it was better, in the long run, to simply make peace with the nearby wolves. The territoriality of the local wolf pack would have kept new packs away, and the local packs wariness around humans would have kept the humans safer after the first few contacts.

Eventually, three things would have happened.

1) Humans would have realized that wolf attacks are more common in the winter, when less food is available. This might have even led some of them to deliberately feed local wolves, knowing that a well-fed wolf is less of a threat. The wolves, being intelligent, would quickly recognized that humans were providing them food, and would have associated them with their "pack" (this same behavior has been seen in modern times when rural people feed wolves). By providing them with food, these small groups would have integrated themselves into the wolves social order.

2) Overly aggressive wolves would be culled from the pack by humans over time as they continued to be aggressive toward humans anyway. Because packs form a fairly closed breeding group, this would have naturally led to a reduction in aggressiveness in the packs immediately surrounding human encampments.

3) Non aggressive and prolonged contact between humans and wolves can lead to the two coexisting side by side without conflict in as little as a few weeks (many wildlife researchers have capitalized on this fact to get close to wild wolf packs). It's imaginable that, within a couple of years of a camps establishment, that wolves might have regularly approached human camps for prolonged periods of time. As new generations of humans and wolves grew up in an environment where they were both exposed to each other regularly from birth, much of the wariness between the two species would have waned.

The theory stated that this sequence of events was probably repeated countless times for millenia as humans and wolves lived alongside each other in a "mutually beneficial truce". It's probable that the first wolf pups raised by humans weren't part of a deliberate attempt to domesticate the animals, but was simply an attempt to help out the offspring of a deceased wolf that the villagers would have already been long familiar with. Once that bridge was crossed, and the wolves began living directly in the human villages, selective pressure would have rapidly domesticated them without any deliberate thought or planning by the humans.

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Response to Xithras (Reply #12)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 06:23 PM

14. certainly a reasonable

reconstruction of the history of humans and wolves. I also think there may have been a relationship established in hunting to the benefit of both. Thanks for your interesting
post.

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 01:25 PM

13. Morphological changes can happen sooner (Russian silver fox experiment)

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Response to BadgerKid (Reply #13)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 08:04 PM

15. This expermint;

Was an example of artificial selection.

The theory behind the wolf theory is mostly unnatural selection.

That is up to a some thousand years ago when humans bred for certain characteristics driving those dog breeds further from pure wolf DNA.

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Response to BadgerKid (Reply #13)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 08:24 PM

17. There's a *very* concerted attempt to speed up the process, though.

That process could happen on its own through uncontrolled interaction, but it would take vastly longer.

(That said, I love that Belyaev's experiment apparently works on any mammal. I want to see that tried with otters. Or bears.)

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 08:17 PM

16. easy, bacon, it was bacon

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Response to G_j (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 08:28 PM

18. Read a book about this a few years ago,

without the DNA part.
Watching Westminster now, looking for wolves!

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