Washington: It’s a widely believed notion that dogs are men’s best friends, and a new study has now found that the special bond between the two may go back 27,000 to 40,000 years.
According to genomic analysis of an ancient Taimyr wolf bone, which has been radiocarbon dated to 35,000 years ago, reveals that the Taimyr wolf represents the most recent common ancestor of modern wolves and dogs.
Love Dalen of the Swedish Museum of Natural History said that dogs may have been domesticated much earlier than is generally believed. The only other explanation was a major divergence between two wolf populations at that time, and one of these populations subsequently gave rise to all modern wolves, which was less likely.
First author, Pontus Skoglund of Harvard Medical School and the Broad Institute added that it was still possible that a population of wolves remained relatively untamed but tracked human groups to a large degree, for a long time.
The DNA evidence also shows that modern-day Siberian Huskies and Greenland sled dogs share an unusually large number of genes with the ancient Taimyr wolf.
Skoglund said that this wolf lived just a few thousand years after Neandertals disappeared from Europe and modern humans started populating Europe and Asia.
The study is reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology.