Should breed-specific legislation (“pit bull bans”) be enacted?
Whether cities should enact breed-specific legislation (BSL, or “pit bill bans”) for dogs is widely debated. Some see BSL as a humane way of making communities safer by discouraging dog fighting and the breeding of dangerous dogs. Others argue there is no evidence that BSL makes communities safer and that other legislation would be more effective than expensive and controversial BSL laws. For more on the debate on pit bull bans, visit ProCon.org. Summary
By 7,000 years ago, they were pretty much everywhere, although they were not the kind of dogs that we would consider pets.
He said the process of dog domestication began when a population of wolves moved to the outskirts of hunter-gatherer camps to scavenge for leftovers.
Later, the eastern dogs moved with migrating humans and bred with those from the west, according to this theory.
Those wolves that were tamer and less aggressive would have been more successful at this,” he explained.
Previous evidence suggested that the first domestic dogs appeared on opposite sides of the Eurasian continent more than 12,000 years ago.
But even Larson is hedging his bets. When I ask him how strong his evidence is, he says, “Like, put a number on it? If was being bold, I’d say it’s a 7 out of 10. We lack the smoking gun.”
Some say wolves were domesticated around 10,000 years ago, while others say 30,000. Some claim it happened in Europe, others in the Middle East, or East Asia. Some think early human hunter-gatherers actively tamed and bred wolves. Others say wolves domesticated themselves, by scavenging the carcasses left by human hunters, or loitering around campfires, growing tamer with each generation until they became permanent companions.
For starters, the timing is hard to pin down because no one knows exactly how fast dog genomes change. That pace—the mutation rate—underpins a lot of genetic studies. It allows scientists to compare modern dogs and ask: How long ago must these lineages have diverged in order to build up this many differences in their genes? And because individual teams use mutation rate estimates that are wildly different, it’s no wonder they’ve arrived at conflicting answers.
The pieces of bone come back to a facility in Oxford called the Palaeo-BARN—the Palaeogenomics and Bioarchaeology Research Network. When I toured the facility with Larson, we wore white overalls, surgical masks, oversoles, and purple gloves, to keep our DNA (and that of our skin microbes) away from the precious fossil samples. Larson called them “spacesuits.” I was thinking “thrift-store ninja.”
And already, they have yielded a surprising discovery that could radically reframe the debate around dog domestication, so that the big question is no longer when it happened, or where, but how many times.
A Brief History of Dogs – How We Domesticated Dogs
The “boy and his dog” tale is a piece of prehistoric fiction, but scientists are uncovering the true origins of our incredible relationship with dogs
Long ago, before your four-legged best friend learned to fetch tennis balls or watch football from the couch, his ancestors were purely wild animals in competition—sometimes violent—with our own. So how did this relationship change? How did dogs go from being our bitter rivals to our snuggly, fluffy pooch pals?
The new drama Alpha answers that question with a Hollywood “tail” of the very first human/dog partnership.
Europe is a cold and dangerous place 20,000 years ago when the film’s hero, a young hunter named Keda, is injured and left for dead. Fighting to survive, he forgoes killing an injured wolf and instead befriends the animal, forging an unlikely partnership that—according to the film—launches our long and intimate bond with dogs.
We’ll never know the gritty details of how humans and dogs first began to come together. But beyond the theater the true story is slowly taking shape, as scientists explore the real origins of our oldest domestic relationship and learn how both species have changed along canines’ evolutionary journey from wolves to dogs.