Using state-of-the-art 3D scanning, a team of researchers discovered that the domestication of dogs did not start 30,000 years ago, during the late Paleolithic, as it was previously believed.
According to the results of the 3D analysis, humans began domesticating dogs approximately 15,000 years ago. The researchers believe that this was when dogs evolved from wolves.
The leader of the new study, Abby Grace Drake, a biologist at the Skidmore College, used a 3D technique to analyze the skulls of two ancient canids, which date back to more than 30,000 ago.
These two fossils were used as basis for determining if the domestication of dogs occurred in the late Paleolithic era.
The scientists were very surprised to discover that the two fossils, which they presumed belonged to ancient dogs, were actually of wolf origins.
The team compared the shape of size of the skulls to the skulls of ancient and modern wolves and modern and ancient dogs from North America and Europe.
The 3D technology used to determine the identity of the fossils has been used for studying human remains. The method was not made to recognize members of the canid species.
However, the method allowed the scientists to identify and observe subtle but relevant differences between dogs and wolves.
Michael Coquerelle, one of the researchers involved in the study and a researcher at the Department of Paleobiology in Spain’s Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, explained that one of the main differences between dogs and wolves is the angle of the orbits.
The dogs have the eyes oriented forward, with a pronounced angle between their forehead and their muzzle. Coquerelle added that the recently analyzed fossils did not have these features because they belong to wolves not dogs.
Drake and her colleagues wrote in the study that the ancient canid fossils resemble wolves, which means that the previous theory saying that humans began domesticating dogs in the Paleolithic no longer stands.
The study was published in the Nature Scientific Reports.
Image Source: thebarkpost
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