D is for Dog
Well the cats had their turn yesterday so it’s only fair we pay some attention to man’s very oldest best friend.
And the antiquity of that very special relationship is pushed back year by year. The results of DNA analyss and carbon dating of a dog skull found interred in the Altai Mountains of Siberia prove that Canis Lupus familiaris had a place in our hearts 33,000 years ago, and one from Belgium is older yet, clocking in at 36,000 years old.
A study of early Asian dog remains suggested that all modern dogs stemmed from a mutation in the Asian wolf population based in western China about 16,000 years ago, but the Siberian dog remains show a closer alignment to North American wolf populations. This suggests that the domestication of the dog occurred in many places world wide as the opportunity allowed.
One thing that I have not been able to discover is when the mutation occurred that caused floppy rather than pricked ears. I’m a bit sad about that because Wilfred’s floppy ears are my favourite bit of him.