Ancient Siberian dogs relied on humans to eat fish

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Ancient Siberian dogs relied on humans to eat fish

Dogs in Siberia ate fish, shellfish, seals and sea lions, which they could not easily catch themselves.

From 7400 years ago, Siberian dogs evolved to a much smaller size than wolves. They depended on humans for food, including marine mammals and fish stuck under the ice, according to a new study.

This research helps understand how the population early dogs may have developed, according to Robert Losey of the University of Alberta, lead author of the study published Friday in the journal Science Advances.

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

The first is that friendlier 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.

In order to study the diets of ancient dogs in more depth, Robert Losey and his colleagues analyzed the remains of about 200 dogs that lived up to 1800 years ago. 11,000 years old and a similar number of wolves.

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

They discovered that dogs from 7,000 to 8,000 years ago were already quite small, meaning they simply couldn't do what most wolves could do, Robert explained. Losey.

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

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

Wolves, on the other hand, hunted with x27;time [and still] in packs of various species of deer.

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

Benefits because they had access to food from humans, usually easy meals, but in exchange they contracted all new diseases and had problems like malnutrition, pointed out the researcher.

While the new bacteria and parasites encountered have helped some to adapt (by better digesting carbohydrates, for example), other populations have not. #x27;have probably not survived.

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