Dogs Came to America 10,000 Years Ago

January 13, 2015 9:45 AM

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A new study – which analyzed DNA from ancient dog remains at more than a dozen sites in North and South America – suggests that dogs might have first migrated successfully to the Americas only about 10,000 years ago. That’s thousands of years after the first human migrants are thought to have crossed a land bridge from Siberia to North America. The study looked at the genetic characteristics of 84 individual dogs at the North and South American study sites. It’s the largest analysis so far of ancient dogs in the Americas. The findings appeared this month (January, 2015) in the Journal of Human Evolution.

Unlike their wild wolf predecessors, ancient dogs learned to tolerate human company and generally benefitted from the association, researchers say. Dogs gained access to new food sources, and enjoyed the safety of human encampments. Dogs also were pressed into service as beasts of burden, and someti...

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