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Deeper Digging Needed to Decode a Best Friend's Genetic Roots

from the New York Times (Registration Required)

As scientific puzzles go, the origin of dogs may not be as important as the origin of the universe. But it strikes closer to home, and it almost seems harder to answer.

Cosmologists seem to have settled on the idea that 13.7 billion years ago the universe appeared with a bang (the big one) from nothing--albeit a kind of nothing that included the laws of physics.

With dogs, the consensus is that they came from wolves. Beyond that, there are varying claims. It seems dogs appeared sometime between 15,000 and 100,000 years ago, in Asia or Africa or multiple times in multiple places. There is a reason for this confusion, according to Greger Larson at the University of Durham in England. In a new research paper, he argues that the DNA of modern dogs is so mixed up that it is useless in figuring out when and where dogs originated.

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