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.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.

Search

Recently on All Over Albany

Thank you!

When we started AOA a decade ago we had no idea what was going to happen. And it turned out better than we could have... (more)

Let's stay in touch

This all feels like the last day of camp or something. And we're going to miss you all so much. But we'd like to stay... (more)

A few things I think about this place

Working on AOA over the past decade has been a life-changing experience for me and it's shaped the way I think about so many things.... (more)

Albany tightened its rules for shoveling snowy sidewalks last winter -- so how'd that work out?

If winter ever gets its act together and drops more snow on us, there will be sidewalks to shovel. And shortly after that, Albany will... (more)

Tea with Jack McEneny

Last week we were fortunate enough to spend a few minutes with Jack McEneny -- former state Assemblyman, unofficial Albany historian, and genuinely nice guy.... (more)

Recent Comments

My three year old son absolutely loving riding the train around Huck Finn's (Hoffman's) Playland this summer.

Let's stay in touch

...has 4 comments, most recently from mg

A look inside 2 Judson Street

...has 3 comments, most recently from Diane (Agans) Boyle

Everything changes: Alicia Lea

...has 2 comments, most recently from Chaz Boyark

Thank you!

...has 24 comments, most recently from Erik

A few things I think about this place

...has 13 comments, most recently from Katherine