Domestication of Dogs By Waverli & David

Origin of Dogs

Some say wolves were domesticated around 10,000 years ago, while others say 30,000. Some claim it happened in Europe, others in the Middle East, or East Asia. Some think early human hunter-gatherers actively tamed and bred wolves. Others say wolves domesticated themselves, by scavenging the carcasses left by human hunters, or loitering around campfires, growing tamer with each generation until they became permanent companions. Even though there is much disagreement as to the actual hearth of dogs, all scientists agree that they came from the common ancestor of the wolf.

The two areas that show the oldest evidence of domesticated dogs are Western Europe and Eastern Asia. On the eastern edge of Ireland is Newgrange, a 4,800-year-old monument that is older than Stonehenge and the pyramids of Giza. Within its underground chambers lie many fragments of animal bones. Among those fragments, the petrous bone of a dog was found. The petrous bone is the bone found right behind the ear. Within the bone, scientists discovered a lot of DNA with which they can link today's dogs to.

Diffusion of Dogs

Research shows that ancient American dogs were more similar to dogs from the Old World than to the gray wolves found in North America. This implies that when nomadic hunter-gatherers migrated across the Bering Strait (the land) from Asia into North America, at least 12–14,000 years ago, they already had dogs with them. The diversity observed in the ancient American dogs indicates that multiple types of dogs were taken in to the New World. Before the voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1492, societies in the Americas were largely untouched by outside influences, and unlike the early societies on which Western culture is based, did not possess domesticated goats, sheep, cattle, pigs, or horses. Dogs were the only domestic animals present in the majority of Native American groups, the only animal allied with humans.

The summary of that research is that many thousands of years ago, somewhere in western Eurasia, humans domesticated grey wolves. The same thing happened far away in the east. At this time, there were two geographically separated groups of dogs, the Ancient Western and Ancient Eastern. Around the Bronze Age, some of the Ancient Eastern dogs migrated westward alongside their human partners, creating the deep split in the DNA tree. Today’s eastern dogs are the descendants of the Ancient Eastern ones. But today’s western dogs trace back to the Ancient Eastern migrants. Less than 10 percent comes from the Ancient Western dogs, which have since gone extinct. This means that different dogs all over the world are either descendants of the Ancient Eastern dogs or the dogs that migrated. Whichever the case, domestication of dogs diffused through relocation diffusion of people.

Distribution of Dogs

There are approximately 525 million dogs in the world, with 73 million just in the U.S. The top five countries who have the highest concentration of dogs are the U.S., Brazil, China, Russia, and Japan. It is not difficult to obtain a pet dog, as breeders can be found in almost every country. Most people either buy from a breeder or adopt from an animal shelter.

Approximately 37-47% of households in the U.S. have dogs, so it's unsurprising that the highest concentration of domesticated dogs is here. There's not that much of a difference between the number of dogs in north and south or east and west, only the breed of dog differs. For example, there is a higher concentration of sheep dogs in the south than in the north because of the livestock being raised in the southern states.

The distribution of dogs also depends on the environment that the dog lives best in. For example, Alaskan Malamutes can withstand extremely cold temperatures because they originated in Alaska. If you tried to start a large concentration of Chihuahuas in Alaska, it wouldn't work very well because the dogs wouldn't be suited for the cold.

In summary, dogs descended from wolves in the Ancient East and West and were diffused due to the relocation of people. They are concentrated mostly in core or semi-periphery countries, and different breeds usually live in different places.


Created with images by WikiImages - "wolf predator canidae" • Pexels - "adorable animal beach"

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