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SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY

It's Still a Dog's Life, But When Did It Begin?

from the San Francisco Chronicle

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. They assure us that although we may not be able to comprehend the numbers, this is what happened.

With dogs, there is no such agreement. A consensus seems to have been reached on only one point, which is that the ancestors of dogs were wolves. Beyond that, there are varying claims, particularly about dates and places. Dogs were domesticated, various scientists argue, between 15,000 and 100,000 years ago, in Asia or Africa or multiple times in multiple places.

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PODCASTS: Expanding With the Cosmos

Using the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ATC), a 6.5-meter microwave collector in Chile, cosmologists are piecing together the early history of the known universe. In an exclusive American Scientist interview, Arthur Kosowsky—a member of the ATC team and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh—discusses how he is using ATC to reach back in time billions of years to search for gravitational waves that could verify inflation and reveal unprecedented details about how the cosmos was born.

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