Dogs domesticated in Middle East, not Asia

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From French poodles to German shepherds, domestic dogs likely trace most of their ancestry to the Middle East, as opposed to East Asian origins suggested by previous research, a genetic study reported on Wednesday.

The findings, published in the online edition of the scientific journal Nature, support an archeological record that closely links the domestication of dogs in the Middle East with the rise of human civilization there, scientists said.

The archeological record of dogs dates back 31,000 years to the remains of a Great Dane-like specimen found in Belgium. The first Mideast dogs appeared 12,000 to 13,000 years ago.

Although agriculture and animal husbandry go hand in hand, the first people to domesticate dogs from wild wolves probably were nomadic hunter-gatherers, who were followed at a distance by canine interlopers in search of scraps.

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