What Caused the Domestication of Dogs and Cats?

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In summary, this article discusses how the origins of dogs may have been a single event from wolves, but some people still argue this point. There were five different dog lineages by 11,000 years ago, but they got scrambled around due to migrations. The possibility of getting neutered isn't a pleasant thought, but the consequences of humping someone at will would be half expected. Cats were first domesticated later than dogs, and probably in Egypt. Domestication "horizontally (i.e., East-West)" of many species of plants and animals happened sometimes as more of an ensemble affair. For example, grain crops and crude storage were open invitations to various rat and mouse species.
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BillTre
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TL;DR Summary
New articles have been recently published on dog evolution.
They cover the origin of dogs from wolves, a dog rediscovered in the wild, and selection schemes that might have been in play during dog domestication.
New dog genomes from a variety of current dogs as well as many ancient dog genomes have recently revealed a lot about dog evolution.
Article in Science (possibly pay-walled).
News article in Science.
NY Times article.

Dog origins:
It was thought that there might have been two origins of dogs from wolves (in different locations, which then interbred).
Now, it is thought to have been only one origin of dogs from wolves (although some still argue this point).
There were five distinct dog lineages by 11,000 years ago.
These got scrambled around, due to dog and human migrations.
Screen Shot 2021-01-12 at 2.13.45 PM.png


Dog and human migrations were tracked through genome analysis of ancient dog and human genomes from different places.
Dogs and humans mostly moved in together, but exceptions were found. Perhaps trading dogs between non-migrating groups of people.
Screen Shot 2021-01-12 at 2.14.35 PM.png


There has been minimal gene flow from wolves to dogs since domestication, but substantial dog to wolf gene flow occurred.
Presumably because people would not want half wolves around that might kill them or their children.
Screen Shot 2021-01-12 at 2.12.07 PM.png


Differences between recently developed (European) dog strains are largely the result of breeders manipulating a small number of genes with strong effects.The New Guinea (or Highland) Singing Dog has been rediscovered in the wild.
It is closely related to the dingo, doesn't hang out that much with humans, and can climb trees.
200 or 300 have been kept in captivity.
Screen Shot 2021-01-12 at 2.32.49 PM.png


A new hypothesis about the mutual adaptive advantages for humans and pre-dogs (wolves) leading to domestication has been published.
It provides a new rationale for domestication.
NY Times article.
Open access research article (Nature).
During winter humans would be killing and eating large animals. Their most important parts to eat were fatty. They could only eat so much of the protein without getting protein poisoning (from eating too much protein).
Dogs (due to their different digestive system) could eat almost exclusively protein, and got leftovers humans did not want.
Because the humans (during winter) were not really in competition for the same food (protein for dogs vs. greater fat content for people), cooperative behavior could come more easily (both were persistent (following prey for a long distances) pack hunters at the time).
Leading to a closer association between humans and dogs, and in the long run, greater human control of dog reproduction (domestication).
Naomi Sykes, a zoo-archaeologist at the University of Exeter in Britain, who reviewed the paper for publication, said she thought the researchers made two important points. “The first is their suggestion that there would have been minimal dietary competition between humans and wolves.” The second, she said, was that their hypothesis “flips the idea of domestication” to people feeding animals rather than raising them to eat.
 
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Imagine if the dogs got the upperhand. We'd have the collars and get the treats without having to worry about much else.
 
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jedishrfu said:
Imagine if the dogs got the upperhand. We'd have the collars and get the treats without having to worry about much else.
The possibility of getting neutered isn't a pleasant thought. But the consequences of humping someone at will would be half expected.
 
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jedishrfu said:
Imagine if the dogs got the upperhand. We'd have the collars and get the treats without having to worry about much else.
But, but, where does that leave cats?
 
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Cats? Were first domesticated later than dogs. Probably in Egypt. Domestication "horizontally (i.e., East-West)" of many species of plants and animals happened sometimes as more of an ensemble affair. Example:
Grain crops and crude storage were open invitations to various rat and mouse species. As people who brought in grain crops learned about cats and their predatory abilities, the cats followed.

You can read about this in various texts on 'evolution under domestication', or get a really well presented plant/animal geography explanation in Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs, and Steel" - aimed at non-Scientists.
 
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jim mcnamara said:
Cats? Were first domesticated later than dogs. Probably in Egypt. Domestication "horizontally (i.e., East-West)" of many species of plants and animals happened sometimes as more of an ensemble affair. Example:
Grain crops and crude storage were open invitations to various rat and mouse species. As people who brought in grain crops learned about cats and their predatory abilities, the cats followed.

You can read about this in various texts on 'evolution under domestication', or get a really well presented plant/animal geography explanation in Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs, and Steel" - aimed at non-Scientists.
Just checking you have this Jim

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3145761/

Also this important study by Russian scientists on domestication that was nearly stopped before it got started.

https://blogs.scientificamerican.co...tten-russian-experiment-in-fox-domestication/
 
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Related to What Caused the Domestication of Dogs and Cats?

What caused the domestication of dogs and cats?

The domestication of dogs and cats was caused by a combination of factors, including human intervention, environmental changes, and the animals' natural behaviors.

When did the domestication of dogs and cats occur?

The domestication of dogs and cats is believed to have occurred around 15,000 years ago, although the exact timeline is still debated among scientists.

Why were dogs and cats domesticated?

Dogs and cats were domesticated primarily for their usefulness to humans, such as hunting, protection, and companionship. They also provided a steady source of food for early human societies.

How did the domestication of dogs and cats impact human society?

The domestication of dogs and cats had a significant impact on human society. It allowed for the development of agriculture and permanent settlements, as well as providing companionship and protection for humans.

What factors contributed to the success of domesticating dogs and cats?

The success of domesticating dogs and cats can be attributed to their natural behaviors, adaptability, and willingness to form bonds with humans. Additionally, the timing of their domestication coincided with the rise of human civilizations, making them an integral part of human society.

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