Vizsla is one of nearly 200 breeds credited by the American Canal Club-a number that has grown through centuries up to selective breeding.At the beginning though, there was only one-the common ancestor of dogs and wolves.
"Previous studies have estimated that this common ancestor lived about 10 to 15 thousand years ago."
But on a pole expedition to Siberia, a research team discovered this Taimyr wolf bone.Lab tests say it's genetic history dates back to the last Ice Age.
“This wolf belonged to the population that was the last known common ancestor between wolves and dogs.And therefore we have to revise the timing of the split between wolves and dogs to at least 30,000 years ago.”
Or 20 cens long ago as thought.But did domestication and the evolutionary split happen at the same time?Scientists worldwide are contributing to a massive database to find out.Greger Larson, at the University of Oxford, heads the project.
“We are focused more on getting data both genetic data and morphological data from 1,000, a couple of thousand ancient dogs and wolves going back 30,000 years or so across all the old world and new world in an effort trying to actually watch that process happen in wolves becoming dogs.The spread of genetic and morphometric signatures across time and space.”
Dogs were the first domesticated animal of any kind.And Larson says they change the course of civilization.
“So really, what it does is it kicks off this very new way that humans have of relating to the natural world.And there's an argument that says that if you don't have dogs, then there's a chance that the whole idea of domestication doesn't form for quite a while after that, and it delays anything else that happens after that, or it makes it not even possible.”
Larson expects to release a major study in the near future, and others with his collaborators during the next several years, using the common data.