I had no idea that there was a question about when wolves became dogs. I have seen ancient fossils of dogs, but I wasn’t paying really close attention to the dates. Now the science world is
abuzz about a new collaborative effort involving scientists from all around the world. The goal is to follow the DNA trail of dogs to finally ascertain just when the dog became a dog.
There have been many schools of thought about the dog’s origin. At one time scientists thought the first dogs were actively bred from wolves to become dogs in the same way people now breed dogs to be, for example, tiny.
Many researchers think that dogs, invented themselves. Perhaps some ancient wolves were less timid around nomadic hunters and were able to scavenge from their kills and camps. These wolves gradually became tamer and tamer. They also produced lots of offspring because of the ease of obtaining food. Eventually they became pets.
There are an estimated one billion dogs in the world and only a quarter of them are pets. The vast majority of dogs run free in villages, scavenge food and get handouts. They also cause many deaths because of rabies. Many are not friendly or friends to people.
Modern dogs are different from modern wolves. They eat comfortably in the presence of people, whereas wolves do not. Their skulls are wider and snouts shorter. They don’t live in pack structures when on their own. Wolves mate for the long haul and wolf dads help with the young. On the other hand, dogs are quite promiscuous, and the male pays no attention to their pups.
Right now there is a huge effort in the scientific community to gather ancient and current bones, skulls and teeth of dogs. The specimens’ jaws and teeth are measured for size, and a small sample of DNA is taken. So far 1,500 samples have been cataloged.
Dr. Greger Larson, a biologist at the University of Oxford, is hoping the project will determine when the domestication process occurred. His team will analyze the ancient DNA to show the evolution, migrations and descent of the modern dog. So his question is this: When and where did the tearing power of a wolf’s jaw give way to a dog’s cold nose nuzzling? Speaking of cold noses, I have a golden-eyed, brown dog named Watson who is begging for a cookie. Who domesticated who?
Our Who’s Who this week is the wonderful anonymous person who has adopted Dozer. We already have photos of Dozer on the couch enjoying his new home. Our gratitude goes to Dozer’s new family. It is our hope that each and every guest at CAPS will find their happy-ever-after with someone as wonderful as Dozer’s folks. A big Paws Up to you.
WHO’S NEW AT THE CAPS’ ZOO?
We have a darling puppy who is a Lab cross. He is 5 months old and was dumped in the desert with a torn ACL. Fortunately he found his way to CAPS. He needs tender-loving-care and will reward you with love and affection. Come by and meet him.
We have two male kitties ready for their new homes. Make this a Valentine’s Day to remember with a new pet to enjoy life with. Policy, however, prohibits adopting out puppies or kittens under the age of 6months to a home with children under 5 years of age. This is to protect both the children and the animal.
CAPS’ NEWS AND EVENTS
CAPS will be at Walmart in February, along with Ki and Urtle at our Kissin’ Booth. Please come by and give our boys a big hug and kiss. We have hoodies, sweatshirts and caps, so please check them out before or after greeting our canine volunteers
Thank you to everyone who purchased our 2016 Happy Endings calendar. We hope you will enjoy looking at all our successful family pictures.
Flower Tree Nursery is again raffling a 15-gallon tree. The drawing date is March 15, and the winner doesn’t have to be present to win. Raffle tickets are available at Flower Tree, and they are $1 for one ticket and $5 for six tickets.
CAPS’ mailing address is P.O. Box 5128, Fallon, NV 89407. CAPS’ phone number is
775-423-7500. Please visit the CAPS website (www.capsnv.org) and Facebook page (Churchill Animal Protection Society). Be sure to “Like” CAPS on Facebook because we are really likable.
Do you have questions, comments or a great story? Contact me email@example.com.
Kathleen Williams-Miller, a CAPS volunteer, contributed this week’s column.