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Ice Age disrupted domestication of dogs, wolves

According to a new study, the domestication of dogs began 33,000 years ago or earlier, but their offsprings could not survive the Ice Age. The theory reveals that...

india Updated: Jul 29, 2011 15:59 IST

The domestication of dogs began 33,000 years ago or earlier, but their offsprings could not survive the Ice Age, according to a new study.

The theory, based on analysis of a 33,000-year-old animal that may have been a partly domesticated dog, explains why the remains of possible prehistoric dogs date to such early periods, and yet all modern dogs appear to be descended from ancestors that lived at the end of the Ice Age 17,000-14,000 years ago.

“Even after the Ice Age, domestication of wolves could have got started at several different times and places, and still failed because the conditions were not continuous enough for the changes to become permanent,” co-author Susan Crockford told Discovery News.

Without the conditions that fuel domestication, the dog or dog-like animals gradually died off, the researchers suspect. Dogs reemerged after the Ice Age, reproducing and becoming the ancestors to today''s modern dogs.

The study has been published in the journal PLoS ONE.