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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Seems as of late, there is almost a bimonthly thesis published on when dogs were first domesticated by man, creating a separate species from Wolves...................Some Researchers have postulated that the Wolf/Dog divergence occurred 16,000 years ago.............New evidence from wolf bones found in Siberia suggest the split might have occurred 40.000 years ago and perhaps happened across many different locales rather than from a single wolf lineage.....................

Wolves in Sweden
(Photo : Wikimedia Commons)

Wolves Much Earlier than Previous Estimates

May 23, 2015 03:19 PM EDT
The long relationship between humans and dogs has just been pushed back by tens of thousands of years, thanks to a small piece of rib bone found during an expedition to the far northern reaches of Siberia. And the genetics show that dogs split from wolves much earlier than we once believed

.The bone in question came from a wolf who lived over 35,000 years ago in what is now the Taimyr Peninsula in northern Siberia. Fortunately, a research team, led by Pontus Skoglund of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, along with scientists from the Swedish Museum of Natural History, was able to sequence ancient DNA from the bone. And what they found was the previous estimate of wolf and dog divergence, which was believed to have occurred around 16,000 years ago, actually took place much earlier. Their new estimates place the split between 27,000 and 40,000 years ago.
"Dogs may have been domesticated much earlier than is generally believed," says Dr. Love DalĂ©n, one of the authors of the paper that appears in the journal Current Biology.
This latest research helps clarify the murky history of dog domestication. In the past, the genetic evidence indicating a later date of domestication conflicted with fossil finds of dog-like animals among ancient archaeological sites, some as old as 36,000 years.
But those previous estimates were based on mutation rates that have now been recalibrated, based on this new sequencing. It turns out the mutation rates among Lupine species are much slower than previously thought, which coincides with an earlier split between wolves and dogs.
Their research also reinforces the fact that dog domestication was not a singular event, stemming from a single line of wolves. Previous studies have shown that gray wolves from as disparate locations as China, Israel and Croatia are equally related to modern-day dogs. And what these latest genetics show is that high-latitude breeds, such as the Siberian Husky and the Greenland Sledge Dogs, can trace part of their ancestry to the now-extinct Taimyr wolf lineage. All that from a tiny piece of rib.
"The power of DNA can provide direct evidence that a Siberian Husky you see walking down the street shares ancestry with a wolf that roamed Northern Siberia 35,000 years ago," Dr. Skoglund says.
"To put that in perspective, this wolf lived just a few thousand years after Neanderthals disappeared from Europe and modern humans started populating Europe and Asia."

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