Somewhere in the early lineage of ancient dogs from the Iberian Peninsula and the area of modern-day Israel, there was a common maternal ancestor. This was among the findings of a wide-ranging study of early human-dog relations by an international, multi-disciplinary group of investigators who scientifically profiled Iberian dogs from the Chalcolithic Period some 5,000 years ago.
The research group included zooarchaeologists, biologists, and a veterinarian – collected and analyzed data including DNA from bones and teeth of ancient dogs worldwide. After creating an evolutionary development tree for the maternal lineage – using the mitochondrial DNA – they found that the Iberian Chalcolithic dogs were genetically grouped near to the ancient dogs from Neolithic Israel and Late Neolithic Ireland, and Late Neolithic Spain, said Blaschikoff. However, she noted there is no way of knowing where that ancestor originated.
The researchers said their study documenting some of the characteristics of Iberian dogs during the Chalcolithic period would aid in the understanding of human interests in their maintenance and breeding. The researchers determined that the dogs varied in size based on their shoulder heights with their analysis. This, combined with the genetic diversity they found in the dog DNA specimens, indicates that Chalcolithic dogs could have been maintained, bred, and selected for specific purposes, such as with livestock husbandry practices and hunting in this early period
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