The author’s first book released by Godage International Publishers, titled “Origin and Evolution of the Domestic Dog” discusses the long time process of the domestication of the Domestic Dog.
The Domestic Dog, Scientifically called as the Canis lupus familiaris, is one of the oldest animals to be domesticated. There are arguments between scholars about the oldest animal domesticated and some believe it was the Cow, while others believe it was the Dog. This will remain a controversy in the world of Archaeology and Natural Sciences until we gather clear evidences to conclude for sure.
The aim of this study is to research the origin and evolution of the Domestic Dog. The process of Domestication, Animal Domestication, and the domestication of the Canis lupus familiaris and the human involvement are discussed in this article. Information about the Family tree, Ancestral species of the modern domestic dog, living members of the Canine Family such as the Grey/Timber wolf, Jackal, Coyote, Dingo, New Guinea’s Singing Dog, as well as extinct members of the Canine Family such as the Miacid, Cynodictus and Tomactus are presented here in this article. In which ways the members of the Canine family have being depicted in ancient cultures and believes are another aspect we have researched on.
The modern Domestic Dog is scientifically referred as Canis lupus familiaris.
The companionship between dog and man dates back to the period when man was living his life as a hunter. In fact, they were the ancestors of the Modern Domestic Dog who befriended the pre historic man for the first time. The Grey Wolf or the Timber Wolf and scientifically referred as the Canis Lupus. Rapid changes occurred during this time in human lives. They were ending their lives as hunter-gatherers and beginning a new way of life style. It was the dawn of civilization, the beginning of stable human settlements. During this time, wild dogs and wolves were attracted towards human settlements in search of warmth and food more than the earlier times.
The modern Dog is a result of the continuous process of domestication of the Wolf. The Grey Wolf or the Timber Wolf is the largest wild member of the Canidae family and a survivor of the Canidae family who exists from the glaciered period until now. As many scholars/scientists believe, Gray/Timber Wolf is the ancestor of the Modern Dog and many of the modern species of the Dog family. Recently the modern Dog was categorized as a domesticated subspecies of the Grey/timber Wolf. The domestication of wolves original occurred during the late Pleistocene, 13500 years ago. The beginning of the process was not a intended or planned. It was spontaneous and impulsive. This may have been an outcome of some other human or natural performances. As scholars believe, the begging was when garbage used to scatter around pre historic human settlements and wolves that were natural scavengers, were attracted towards them. (One significant reason for wolves to be the first species to be domesticated was that they were natural scavengers. They depend on garbage and left over food. This has given wolves/ dogs and other members of the dog family to survive throughout the hardest situations of history. ) According to DNA evidence it is clear that the ancestral wolf of the modern dog were separated from the other wild wolves nearly about 100000 years ago. The modern dog was evolved from those wolves nearly 15000 years ago. According to these dating, and if they are accurate, dog is the first ever species t be domesticated by man. There are archaeological evidences of the domestication of the dog dating back to 12000-10000 BC. Very clear evidences date back to 7000 BC.
Birth of a new species…
Many causes strained to develop a new sub species, which was a result of the long-term domestication process. Some considerable causes are the attraction of wolves towards human settlements in search of garbage and leftover food, warmth. Our ancestors who were then hunter-gathers used to bring home and nurture orphaned wolf cubs whom they met in the forest. They were perfect hunting companions, guards, and helpers to transport heavy loads. As wolves were facing such situations, physical and behavioral changes appeared in later generations of wolves. Because of this, a new generation of wolves with changes required by human was born as a sub species of the wolf. These mutant creatures of wolves are what we today call as the Domestic DOG. As researches believe the Dog is a completely Domesticated species.
Because of these changes many dog breeds were evolved too. There are hundreds of such various breeds in the world. These dogs were selectively bred to meet different needs of man. Among such breeds, the Saluki is considered as the most ancient dog breed in the world. Some other ancient dog breeds are Ibizian Hound, Grey Hound, Pharaoh hound, and Samoyed.
At present Dogs are used to multi-tasks apart from Hunters, Guards and Loving pets. They are used to help shepherds, as sledge dogs in snow covered areas, to rescue people during disasters and catastrophic situations, as messengers, to track down criminals and drugs and weapons, helpers of the disables are to name a few. Apart from all these, dogs have always been man’s best friend since the last glacial period until now and will remain the same for thousands of years to come.
Dogs of Sri Lanka.
In ancient Sinhalese folklore, Jackal plays a prominent role. Till now there are no solid and clear evidence to state that wolves existed in Sri Lanka. The Jackal who exists in Sri Lanka is referred as the Golden Jackal. There are many Jackal species in the world but the Golden Jackal is the only Jackal species can be found in Sri Lanka. Scientifically the Golden Jackal is referred as the Canis aureus. According to Genetic research this species of Jackal (Golden Jackal- Canis aureus) does not show close relation to the rest of other Jackal species. Researchers include the Canis aureus to the wolf group as they close relation to the wolf group. The other species belongs to the wolf group is, Grey/Timber wolf, Domestic Dog and Coyote.
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