In the remote regions of Southern Siberia researchers have found a fossil tooth and subjected it to DNA analysis. The results confirm that it belonged to one of the oldest known ancestors of the modern domesticated dog! This news published in the journal PLOS ONE by Ann Druzhkova of the Russian Institute of Molecular & Cellular Biology and colleagues from other institutes.
It is believed ancient humans domesticated dogs before the advent of agriculture about 10 kya but just when modern domestic dogs emerged as a separate species from wolves is unknown. Some previous studies have suggested this may have taken place around 100 kya but the oldest known fossil remains of modern dogs are only around 36 kyr.
The tooth fossil is being called the “Altai Dog” as it was found in Siberia’s Altai mountains which are a magnificent source of ancient relics and fossils. DNA analysis of the tooth indicates it is more closely related to modern dogs and prehistoric canids FOUND IN THE AMERICAS than it is related to wolves! The analysis also gives support for the theory of a more ancient history of domesticated dogs outside of the Middle East and East Asia than previously thought. Continue Reading