Man and dog – best friends for over 30,000 years

The Chow Chow is a dog we think of as traditionally Chinese

Do you look at your dog and wonder how life would be complete without a dog at your side? If you do, you’re not the first person to feel this way. Archeological evidence suggests that man has felt a special and strong bond with dogs for thousands of years. Traditional research has suggested that wolf turned into dog about 10,000 years ago, beginning a love affair with man that remains strong today. Researchers at Kunming Institute of Zoology in China have published new research in the journal Nature Communications that suggests a relationship between dogs and man began much earlier and with Chinese dogs.

There are a number of dog breeds we think about as Chinese dogs – including Pekinese, Chow Chow, and Shar Pei. These researchers looked at dogs native to China and conducted detailed genetic testing. They tested gene sequencing in grey wolves, Chinese native dogs, and modern dog breeds. The results were quite surprising. While older research suggested the split between wolf and domesticated dog was more recent, this new study showed a much earlier split that happened between wolves and dogs in Southeast Asia. This split was believed to have occurred about 32,000 years ago.

This research suggests that the first domesticated dogs likely developed in China and that today’s many modern breeds can trace their roots back to ancient Asian dogs. This research also suggests that the bond between man and dog has been around for much, much longer than previously predicted. So give your favorite dog a hug – man’s been doing that for many thousands of years.

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