At some point in evolutionary history dogs diverged from wolves thanks to domestication by humans. But just where did dogs first become man’s best friend? Robert Wayne and his team have many years invested in answering the question, and their newest findings, published this week in Nature, suggest that the answer is the Middle East.
Researchers looked at gene segments from 912 dogs, from 85 breeds, and samples of 225 grey wolves, dog’s close cousins who they evolved from in prehistory, from 11 regions [USA Today]. Dogs and wolves that come from the Middle East, Wayne says, show the most genetic similarity. The researchers propose that dogs were first domesticated there, and then spread outward.

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