Science and Journalism in Society

Brandeis University JOUR 130B

Finding Dogs

Who let the dogs out: men or wolves? And more importantly, when did they get out?

Surprisingly little is known about how dogs came to be at man’s side. What is known is that they are descendants of wolves anywhere from over 30,000 to 15,000 years ago. Scientists still debate whether a brave hunter decided to tame a wolf puppy, or if wolves evolved to be friendlier towards prehistoric humans. After all, begging for scraps is easier than running down prey.

Much of the confusion is because of dog fans of the 19th century. Dog fanatics had a “giant whirlwind blender of the European crazy Victorian dog-breeding frenzy.” As a result, dog genes look like a truck hit them. Dr. Larson, who received his Ph.D. at Oxford, is leading a collaboration between nearly every canine geneticist to create a canine database to establish order and provide a bank of information for research to sprout from. The team travels the world to collect from fossils and hope to have 1,500 DNA samples.

With Dr. Larson’s information, we may be able to determine the dawn of the dog.




Gorman, James. The Big Search to Find Out Where Dogs Come From. The New York Times. The New York Times Company. 18 Jan 2016. Web. 1 Jan 2016.

1 Comment

  1. Nice, succinct blogpost, Beverly. I’d only ask that you attribute that quote in your post.

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