A new study shows that dogs have been domesticated by humans approximately 15,000 years later than researchers previously thought.
The study involved reanalyzing the skulls of two ancient dogs, one of them being more than 30,000 years old.
The scientists thought of these skulls as the proof that dogs were domesticated during an era when ancient humans were still hunting.
The researchers used a 3D technology to analyze the ancient fossils and were very surprised to discover that the bones did not belong to the earliest dogs, but to wild wolves.
The analysis also revealed that the earliest evidence of domestic dogs go back approximately 15,000 years ago. This actually coincides with an era when early humans just started farming.
Abby Drake, one of the authors of the new study on the origins of the domestication of dogs, said that scientists have been searching to find when humans started to domesticate dogs for a long time.
But unfortunately, the previous analyses of the two fossils were not accurate enough and misled them.
Abby Drake is a biologist at the Abby Drake of Skidmore College in New York.
The findings of the new study were published in the Nature Journal Scientific Reports.
Drake and his team of scientists used 3D technology to scan and observe the size and shape of the ancient canine skulls. The data from these measurements were compared with data from other skull that belong to both dogs and wolves from ancient and modern times.
This 3D technique helped the scientists observe the differences between wolves and dogs, like the direction of the eye cavity and the angle between the forehead and the snout.
Drake explained that the new study provides a more accurate method of determining whether the fossils belong to a dog or a wolf. He added that the previous measurements had been very inaccurate.
The scientists said that they were able to determine whether the skull was from a wolf or a dog with an accuracy of 96%.
According to the experts, the dog was the first animal the early humans succeeded to domesticate.
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