Dog fossils show early canine domestication in cave in Germany

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A pile of canine fossils from a single cave found in Germany have shown astonishing inherent diversity, encompassing almost the entire extent of dog domestication, from wild wolves to present-day dogs.

ScienceAlert reported that based on studies, the age of these notable specimens, including dogs, foxes and wolves, is older than nearly 60 other canids that lived between 14,000 and 3,000 years in Europe. .

In addition, the reconstruction of their mitochondrial genomes appears to correspond to the collective difference of almost all ancient canids evaluated in this region today.

A similar report published on Mail Online described the small cave called Gnirshohle as the center of the Hegau Jura region, home to many caves that humans occupied around 17,000 to 12,000 years ago. It is known as a “Magdalenian hotspot”, which refers to ancient cultures from the time of Western Europe.

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(Photo: Clark, Jim on Wikimedia Commons)
Studies show the age of these remarkable specimens, including dogs, foxes and wolves, is older than nearly 60 other older canids that lived between 14,000 and 3,000 years in Europe.

Potential stage for animal domestication

By examining Gnirshohle’s variants, genetics, and many bones, the study researchers showed a potential step for animal domestication, one of the most comprehensive collections of canine genomes in space and time.

In their research, the study authors wrote that it is interesting to note that research focused on analyzing various nuclear genomes of ancient dogs suggested a unique modern dog origin. However, p fails to provide a geographic location for such an occurrence.

Also in their study published in Scientific Reports (A Refined Proposal for the Origin of Dogs: The Case Study of Gnirshöhle, a Magdalenian Cave Site), the researchers wrote that they could not answer the question of the singularity of the domestication event. But their findings support the hypothesis that this region was a potential center for the domestication of the early European wolf.

Dogs are considered to be the earliest domesticated animals in general in human history, although the exact details of where, when, and why this happened remain unknown.

Proximity of older dogs to humans

Identifying the difference between early domesticated dogs and their wolf counterparts is very difficult and rather subjective, especially since this change occurred in prolonged continuous stages.

In general, however, it is believed that the oldest dogs appeared in Europe and Siberia around 16,000 years ago.

According to Chris Baumann, a biogeologist at the German University of Tübingen, the proximity of these animals to humans, as well as the specifications of a rather controlled diet suggest that 16,000 to 14,000 years ago, wolves already had been domesticated and raised as dogs. .

The biogeologist added that one of the origins of European domestic dogs could thus be discovered in southwestern Germany.

Nonetheless, this does not rule out other areas where dogs have been independently trained and protected from gray wolves.

Indeed, the genes of the Gnirshohle canines introduced a previously unrecognized line that does not correspond to other dogs that exist in the region.

Therefore, it is possible that this line could refer to populations of dogs from elsewhere in the world. For the moment, the said possibility remains a speculation.

None of the genetics or teeth in Gnirshohle’s remains was enough to tell if these canids were wolves, dogs, or somewhere in the middle.

Interestingly, however, their diets appeared to be low in protein, suggesting that these animals had, to some extent, adapted to more controlled meals than they would have in the wild, likely under the influence of humans.

A Stockholm University YouTube video below shows the origin of dogs as revealed in prehistoric DNA:

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Find more news and information about wolves at Science Times.


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