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Ancient Siberian dogs relied on humans to eat fish

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The research helps understand how the early dog ​​population may have developed, according to Robert Losey of the University of Alberta, lead author of the study published Friday in the journal Science Advances (New window).

Long-term changes in dog diets have often been simplifiedhe said, explaining that previous work had focused on just two hypotheses to explain the transition from dogs to wolves, a process that began 40,000 years ago.

The first is that more friendly wolves that approached humans for meat found themselves isolated from their fellow wolves and eventually domesticated. The second is that some dogs developed a better ability to digest starches after the agricultural revolution.

To study the diets of ancient dogs in greater depth, Robert Losey and his colleagues analyzed the remains of about 200 dogs that lived up to 11,000 years ago and a similar number of wolves.

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We searched collections all over Siberia, analyzed bones, took collagen samples and analyzed proteins in the laboratoryhe specified.

They found that dogs from 7,000 to 8,000 years ago were already quite small, meaning they just couldn’t do what most wolves could doexplained Robert Losey.

New diets

For their food, they thus depended more on humans or on the hunting of small prey, rather than that of the large ones which the wolves could attack them.

The researchers found that the dogs ate fish, shellfish, seals and sea lions, which they couldn’t easily catch on their own, Mr. Losey noted. They had this diet in places in Siberia where lakes and rivers are frozen for seven to eight months of the year.

The wolves as for them hunted at the time [et toujours] in packs various species of deer.

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These new diets have brought their share of advantages and disadvantages to dogs.

Profits, because they had access to human food, usually easy meals, but in exchange, they contracted all new diseases and had problems like malnutritionunderlined the researcher.

If the new bacteria and parasites encountered helped some to adapt (by digesting carbohydrates better, for example), other populations probably did not survive.

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