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Man's best friend came from Asia

Wednesday October 21st 2015

Domesticated dogs may have originally come from Central Asia, according to US scientists.

They concluded that wolves taken in by people and tamed are probably the distant cousins of the animals we know and love today.

The researchers studied patterns in genes from thousands of pooches right around the world to pinpoint an area between the modern Mongolia and Nepal as the tamed canine's likely point of origin.

They also examined the DNA of more than 500 free-roaming "village dogs" that live close to human settlements but which have never been closely studied, despite being crucial part in the dog's history.

The study, carried out by researchers by Cornell University in New York, contradicts earlier theories that suggest pet pooches came from Europe, China, Siberia and Middle-Eastern countries more than 15,000 years ago.

The latest study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, has not looked at the precise point in time when modern dogs have their origins, a topic that has sparked much debate over the years.

Copyright Press Association 2015