Dogs May Have Been Domesticated Twice, According to New Finding


The debate over whether dogs were domesticated in Europe or Asia may finally be resolved after all these years.

Researchers recently found the remains of a 5,000-year-old dog in Ireland, suggesting dogs could have been domesticated twice, including once in Asia and another time in Europe or the Near East. According to Science, the bone of the 5,000-year-old dog was a game-changer in the debate.


Project leader and University of Oxford evolutionary biologist Greger Larson told Science:

“I was like, ‘Holy shit!’ We never saw this split before because we didn’t have enough samples.”

The inner ear bone of the specimen was dug up from Newgrange, a large dirt field the size of a football field located on the east coast of Ireland. The mound of dirt and stone was built around the same time as Stonehenge.

Using the bone, a research team led by Laurent Frantz, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Oxford, was able to sequence the ancient dog’s entire nuclear genome. It is the first complete genome of such a specimen to be published. The analysis was then compared to nuclear DNA of 605 modern dogs and wolves to calculate a genetic mutation rate for canines.


Humans are believed to have domesticated dogs in Asia more than 14,000 years ago. The Asian dogs purportedly migrated west through Eurasia, likely with people, between 6,400 and 14,000 years ago. Archaeological remains, however, date domesticated European dogs over 15,000 years ago. That’s 1,000 years before the Eurasian migration occurred.


While the findings suggest that there were two separate domestications that occurred, European ancestry in modern dogs may have been completely erased. Frantz said:

“We don’t know if the dogs that evolved [early] in Europe were an evolutionary dead end, but we can safely say that their genetic legacy has mostly been erased from today’s dogs.”

The analysis revealed that a decrease in genetic diversity in Western dogs may have led to a dramatic decline in their population.

Support our Journalism with a Contribution

Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for everyone’s support. We love you all and can’t appreciate you guys enough.

NextShark is a leading source covering Asian American News and Asian News including business, culture, entertainment, politics, tech and lifestyle.

For advertising and inquiries: