The origin of dogs is shrouded in mystery: How were they domesticated? What part of the world did they come from? How long have they been with us? Scientists are now closer to answering that last question, thanks to the discovery of a small wolf bone on a remote Siberian peninsula. Radiocarbon dating reveals that the bone is 35,000 years old, and genetic analysis suggests that this animal may have lived during a critical time in canine history: when the ancestors of today’s dogs split off from the ancestors of modern wolves. Though the find doesn’t tell us where dogs came from or even how they came to be, it does suggest that our canine pals have been around for a long time—possibly as long as 40,000 years. Scientists have long known that dogs are oldest friends; now we’re coming to appreciate just how ancient this friendship really is.
For the full story, check out my article in Science.