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Study of ancient dogs in the Americas yields insights into human, dog migration

Brian Kemp, left, and Timothy Kohler
Brian Kemp, left, and Timothy Kohler

A new study conducted in part by Washington State University researchers Brian Kemp and Timothy Kohler suggests that dogs may have first successfully migrated to the Americas only about 10,000 years ago, thousands of years after the first human migrants crossed a land bridge from Siberia to North America.

The study looked at the genetic characteristics of 84 individual dogs from more than a dozen sites in North and South America, and is the largest analysis so far of ancient dogs in the Americas.

Unlike their wild wolf predecessors, ancient dogs learned to tolerate human company and generally benefited from the association: They gained access to new food sources, enjoyed the safety of human encampments and, eventually, traveled the world with their two-legged masters.

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