Humans and dogs have been found to enhance each other’s mental health. According to research by the journal Science, when humans and dogs lock their eyes, their brains produce oxytocin, which is linked to maternal bonding.
But when and how did this amazing relationship start? Let’s find out.
Dogs Evolved From Wolves
Have you ever noticed the open resemblance between dogs and wolves? Well, it turns out that dogs evolved from a wolf species. Their history has been studied using mitochondrial DNA, which suggests that they split into different species about 100,000 years ago. The researchers studied DNA from archeological sites in Ireland and Germany.
When Did Dog Domestication Begin?
By studying the rates of change to the DNA from the specimen they collected, scientists timed the domestication of dogs to between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago. It’s believed that the domestication started when a population of wolves moved to the outskirts of hunter-gather camps to scavenge for leftovers. The wolves that were less aggressive and tamed were successful at this. Later, the wolves would evolve into dogs.
As the dogs moved closer to human settlement, the friendship between the canines and humans started budding. At the time, people needed help with hunting and herding. Dogs may have also provided an early alarm system and source of companionship that we know and love today. At some point in history, dogs may have also been a food source. In return, the canines received companionship, shelter, protection, and food.
Some studies in the ancient period of Siberia suggest that in some instances, dogs were awarded ‘personhood’ status and treated equally to fellow humans. A dog burial site at the Shamanaka site was located, where the remains of a male dog were uncovered. Radiocarbon dating estimated the site to have been dug 6200 years ago. It had suffered injuries on its spine, from which it recovered. Another wolf burial at Lokomotiv-Raisovet cemetery has also been recovered.
Where Did the Modern Breeds Come From?
Scholars agree that many of the dogs we see today are recent developments. The outstanding variation in dogs over time is believed to be the result of the domestication process. Breeds vary in size from one pound to over 200 pounds. The breeds also have varying limb, skull, and body proportions. That could be because domestication happened when humans were hunters and gatherers at the time. They also led extensive migrant lifeways.