New Research Sheds Light on Origin of the Dog

The veterinarians of Elmhurst Animal Care Center in Elmhurst, Illinois, understand the important role that companion animals play in a family. As a result, at Elmhurst Animal Care Center, every patient receives high-quality medical care from a team of skilled doctors. New research suggests that our pets, and especially our dogs, may be more deeply linked to our lives than previously thought.

Scientists were studying canine DNA to determine what separates wolves from dogs. They found the differences mainly occur in genes related to the nervous system and those related to the ability to digest starch. The nervous system changes would have helped the first dogs, who lived sometime between 6,000 and 30,000 years ago, to feel comfortable living and scavenging in close proximity to humans. The genes which control the ability to digest starch mean that the first dogs shifted from the meat-based diet of a wolf to a diet very close to the one that early humans ate. In fact, humans gained the ability to digest starchy foods around the same time. This suggests that dogs and humans have been together since the dawn of agriculture and the very beginning of civilization. No wonder people call the dog “man’s best friend.”