Brittany Malooly
June 03, 2016 2:41 pm
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We all know that dogs are a human’s best friend, but we’ve never entirely been sure why. Now, a team of researchers led by the University of Oxford has announced that they have a better idea of why dogs are so nice to us while say, cheetahs, are a bit less loyal (let’s be real, even domesticated cats can be scary).

According to the project’s scientists, dogs were domesticated by humans not once but twice, and in different regions of the world. Woah.

Fox / giphy.com

How did the researchers learn this? According to ScienceDaily, they first sequenced the genome of ancient, medium-sized pup using a 4,800-year-old dog bone found in Ireland. WHAT? Crazy. Then, they compared this dog’s DNA with 59 other pups estimated to live between 14,000 and 3,000 years ago from different areas.

They found major differences between the dogs from East Asia and Europe, suggesting two different domesticated dog populations.

ScienceDaily explains:

“These new findings suggest that dogs were first domesticated from geographically separated wolf populations on opposite sides of the Eurasian continent. At some point after their domestication, the eastern dogs dispersed with migrating humans into Europe where they mixed with and mostly replaced the earliest European dogs. Most dogs today are a mixture of both Eastern and Western dogs — one reason why previous genetic studies have been difficult to interpret.”

So, it seems that dogs have a LONG, tangled history of living alongside humans, which is why they are so comfortable around us.

20th Century Fox / giphy.com

Professor Keith Dobney, an expert on dog domestication from Liverpool University, said to ScienceDaily of the news:

“With the generous collaboration of many colleagues from across the world-sharing ideas, key specimens and their own data — the genetic and archaeological evidence are now beginning to tell a new coherent story. With so much new and exciting data to come, we will finally be able to uncover the true history of man’s best friend.”

Dawww. What would we do without our furry friends?

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