The Science Behind Why Dogs Are Man’s Best Friend

Written by: Stephanie Figy

January 20, 2015

In a new study – the largest genetic analysis of ancient dogs in the Americas to date – researchers found that dogs may have arrived in the Americas only about 10,000 years ago.

Who are you callin' ancient?
Who are you callin’ ancient? Image via @downsitplay

Researchers analyzed 42 DNA samples taken from ancient dog remains and compared them with 42 genetic samples from prior studies. They discovered four new genetic signatures in the samples, suggesting there was greater diversity among ancient dogs than previously thought. However, they found low genetic diversity within certain regions, implying that humans in those areas were breeding them.

Even more interesting, the new findings suggest that dogs traveled to the Americas with a second wave of human migration.

“Dogs are one of the earliest organisms to have migrated with humans to every continent, and I think that says a lot about the relationship dogs have had with humans,” lead study author Kelsey Witt, a biologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said in a statement.

Now you have a more valid reason why your dog is your best friend. You can’t deny science.

Image via @my_wack_pack
Image via @my_wack_pack

Stay tuned, because the researchers plan to study ancient dogs in greater detail.

The scientists detailed their findings in the Journal of Human Evolution.

H/T NBC News and Live Science

Feature image via The Examiner


Written by: Stephanie Figy

January 20, 2015