DNA Shows Dogs First Appeared In Europe

Nancy Simpson

DNA Shows Dogs First Appeared In Europe

CREATED Nov. 14, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) - For years, scientists have been dogged by this evolution question: Just where did man's best friend first appear?

The earliest known doglike fossils come from Europe. But DNA studies have implicated east Asia and the Middle East. Now a large DNA study is lining up with the fossils. It suggests dogs originated in Europe.

Researchers used DNA from fossils of 18 ancient creatures resembling dogs and wolves, 49 modern wolves, 77 dogs of a variety of breeds, and four coyotes. By noting genetic similarities, they built an evolutionary family tree.

And that suggested a European origin for dogs. The work was published online Thursday by the journal Science.

Experts praised the research, but they said it probably won't end the debate about where dogs evolved.