When did dogs become dogs?

Interesting: Domesticated dogs emerged from wolves about 15,000 years ago, according to recently-published research from a team that includes Skidmore biologist Abby Grace Drake. The estimation is based on very precise 3-D measurements of fossil skulls that can detect very subtle differences between dogs and wolves, and it pushes against other estimates, based on DNA analysis, that had pegged the switchover as far back as 30,000 years. [Skidmore] [Scientific Reports] [Daily Gazette]

So, 15,000 years or 30,000 years... so what? Because the two dates mark a difference in where humans were at in their own development. As Drake explained to CBS News:

"Whether dogs were domesticated in the Paleolithic or the Neolithic creates two different scenarios for how domestication may have taken place," she explained. "In the Paleolithic humans were hunter-gatherers. In the Neolithic is when we started to build permanent settlements that would have required 'dumps.' These piles of food and human waste would have attracted scavengers. Some scientists propose that wolves that scavenged at these dumps would have access to valuable food and those that could tolerate the presence of humans would be more successful."

Drake's research looks at how evolution changes the physical structure and behavior of species. Her Skidmore page includes some cool photos of skulls from different dog breeds, highlighting the huge differences that breeding has introduced over the last few centuries.

That clip embedded above is a Drake video -- it shows a wolf skull morphing into a French bulldog skull.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

Colonial ice cream day at Crailo

This could be interesting (and delicious): The Crailo State Historic Site is hosting a "Colonial Ice Cream Discovery Day" August 12. Blurbage: [D]iscover how colonists... (more)

Where to get a hybrid or electric car serviced?

Mark emails: I've been on the hunt for a mechanic that specializes/is-well-versed in electric/hybrid cars, but have failed to bag anything. I have taken my... (more)

Morning Blend

Scrutiny of Albany County jail death Brendan Lyons looks into the 2014 death of a man in the Albany County jail in an episode in... (more)

The week ahead

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (cool start), to The... (more)

A quick recap of the week

Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA: + We took a few minutes to take in the murals in Rensselaer's Riverfront... (more)

Recent Comments

... Great experience. Fast pickup times. I was chatting with one of my drivers about potential Saratoga -> Albany types of drives or similar. He is actually based in Delmar, and said that as a driver, Lyft has a feature that you can pick a fare based on the direction you want to end up in which I thought was interesting. He was driving around all night and lives out in Delmar but ended up more towards Saratoga when he was about to call it quits. His last fare was a drive from Saratoga back towards Albany and got him pretty close to home as well. That makes me feel better about catching a ride to a place further in NY if I happen to need one.

Where to get a hybrid or electric car serviced?

...has 1 comment, most recently from John

The week ahead

...has 1 comment, most recently from Amy Koren-Roth

One critique of the proposed 1 Monument Square design, raised up one level

...has 9 comments, most recently from J

Drawing: Murder Mystery Night at Takk House

...has 39 comments, most recently from Carolyn

Word(s) on the street

...has 13 comments, most recently from Stan