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Dogs first tamed in prehistoric Europe, DNA reveals

General November 16, 2013

A dog yawns as it looks at people passing by at a street in central MadridBy Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) – Humans first made dogs their best friends in prehistoric Europe, where groups of hunter-gathers learnt to tame dangerous wolves into companions between 19,000 and 32,000 years ago, scientists said on Thursday. The new research, based on analysis of DNA fragments from fossils of ancient wolves and dogs, confounds earlier theories that dogs were originally domesticated in the Middle East or East Asia. Experts generally agree that dog training started out with a few grey wolves hanging around human encampments in the hope of picking up scraps. Now Olaf Thalmann, from Finland's University of Turku, and colleagues believe they have placed initial doggy taming firmly in Europe after finding that modern dogs' DNA most closely matches that of either ancient European canines or modern European wolves, but not wolves outside Europe.


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