New research by an international group of researchers has fueled the debate over where the domestic dog originated: Africa or East Asia? At the center of the debate is the question of whether African or East Asian dog populations have more genetic diversity, based on the idea that earlier domestication would result in more genetic diversity today.
Earlier domestication would result in more genetic diversity today.
The analysis, led by scientist Adam Boyko of Cornell University, began with a look at the DNA from 318 village dogs from Egypt, Uganda, and Namibia. The team believed that village dogs, which are more diverse than bred dogs, might be a better clue as to where dogs were first domesticated.
In their comparison of dog types considered African (such as the Saluki) to non-African dogs, the team learned that genetic diversity in African village dogs was just as high as in East Asian dogs, calling into question previous conclusions. “I think it means that the conclusion that was drawn before might have been premature. It’s a consequence of having a lot of street dogs from East Asia that were sampled, compared to elsewhere. The reason that East Asia looked more diverse than elsewhere was not because East Asia as a continent had more diverse dogs than elsewhere but because non breed street and village dogs are more diverse than breed dogs.”
All of the dogs sampled have gray wolf DNA, however, affirming the widely held belief (by evolutionists and creationists) that dogs and wolves share a common ancestor (which creationists would consider the original dog kind from Genesis 1).
Boyko also told the BBC that the study doesn’t show that dogs were first domesticated in Africa; it only disputes the evidence supporting an East Asian origin. Our guess is that many people groups domesticated canine breeds during and after the dispersion at Babel (as perhaps did their ancestors before the Flood), with dogs progressively becoming “man’s best friend” through natural and artificial selection.
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