Today there are over 75 million dogs in the United States; about 400 million throughout the entire planet. Dogs have become a favorite pet for many. Many movies have shown this through their medium, like the Walt Disney Pictures film Beverly Hills Chihuahua that portrays them as a very pampered and special pet. Dogs furthermore have become a necessity like a hearing or seeing-eye dog for those who are hearing impaired or blind. Even the police have canine units where the trusted canine officer performs numerous police duties like sniffing out drugs or helping a fellow officer arrest a criminal. Dogs have become a very integral part of today’s society.
According to the article More than Man’s Best Friend in the periodical Archaeology, “dogs have been an integral part of human culture for 15,000 years.” The earliest dog-like remains go all the way back to 31,700 years ago. Paleontologists have had a very difficult time discerning between dog and wolf remains due to their similarities as canines. Dogs do have a significantly shorter snout and their sizes vary more than wolves.
In the scientific community, there is debate pertaining to the origination of dogs. This is primarily because there seems to be evidence of multiple sites of origination. The archeological record of ancient dog findings suggests that dogs were domesticated in more than one place throughout different time frames.
Through mitochondrial DNA analysis, in 2009 Peter Savolainen of the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm narrowed the place of original dog domestication to China. It is believed to have occurred around 16,300 years ago south of the Yangstze River. Peter Savolainen “posits that all dogs spring from a population of at least 51 female wolves.” (per Archaeology periodical)
In 2010, a team led by biologist Robert Wayne of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) concluded in their research that “domesticated dog DNA overlaps most closely with the Near Eastern Wolves” instead of the wolves found in China (per Archaeology periodical). Robert Wayne and his team theorize that dogs were first domesticated in the Middle East, and then bred with the gray wolves (like the one’s found in China) as they migrated throughout the planet.
Susan Crockford, an Archaeozoologist from the University of Victoria, who is a completely separate entity from the two experts and teams listed above, also has been working on the origination of dogs (as we know them). Susan Crockford feels that there is no debate. She views the findings of Peter Savolainen and Robert Wayne as collaboration for more than one place (at least two) as the origination area for dogs. She believes dogs became dogs “at different times in different places.” (per Archaeology periodical)
Naturally, many experts are debating this issue. In this field, all who participate desire to be the one who came up with the correct theory where conclusive facts beyond a doubt prove their theory about the birth place of dogs, where they originally came from. To date, no one knows one hundred percent the answer to where dogs originated. Like Susan Crockford, I too believe, that dogs could have multiple places for their origination.
The problem with finding where dogs originated from is difficult. There is no easy way to find this. Experts have taken years to unearth the little proof available found in archaeological digs. Dogs have been around literally for thousands of years. Many cultures that had dogs integrated in their society in a dog-human relationship have past throughout the world. What experts have conclusively proven is that dogs are mankind’s eldest companion. Now that is something for dog lovers to celebrate!
Alicia Rose, personal studies about dogs, 1978 to present.
“More than Man’s Best Friend” by Jarrett A. Lobell and Eric A. Powell, Archaeology, September/October 2010 issue, p. 26 – 28
Inserted articles about dogs with “More than Man’s Best Friend” titled: “Constant Companions“, “Sacrificial Dogs”, “Dogs of Roman Britain”, “Dogs as Food”, “The Dog Catacomb”, and “Guardians of Souls” Archaeology, September/October 2010 issue p. 28 – 35
Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Wikipedia website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beverly_Hills_Chihuahua
Dog, Wikipedia website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog