May 31, 2023
Siberian dogs depend on humans for food - 23/7/2022 - Science

Siberian dogs depend on humans for food – 23/7/2022 – Science

7,400 years ago, Siberian dogs were much smaller than wolves, which made them more dependent on humans for food, including marine species, according to research released Friday (22).

Robert Lucy, Professor at the University of Alberta and Director study Published in Science Advances, he said the findings helped explain the early growth of the canine population, which humans turned to for housework, herding, and sledding.

Previous research focused on only two main ideas to explain how dogs changed from being wolves, a process that began about 40,000 years ago.

The first of these assumptions is that friendly wolves approached human camps during the Ice Age to search for meat, isolating themselves from their wild counterparts, and then were purposely bred as dogs.

The second is that some dogs developed a better ability to digest starch after the agricultural revolution, which is why some modern breeds have more copies of the gene AMY2B, which produces pancreatic amylase.

To study the diet of ancient dogs in greater depth, Lucy and his colleagues analyzed the remains of about 200 of these animals and 200 wolves that lived during the past 11,000 years.

“We had to turn to groups all over the SiberiaWe analyzed the bones, took samples of collagen and studied the protein in the labs.”

Based on the remains, the team made statistical estimates of the animals’ body sizes. They also used a technique called stable isotope analysis to estimate diets.

Scientists found that dogs from 7,000 to 8,000 years ago “were already very small, which means they can’t do the same things that most wolves can do,” Lucy explained.

This has led them to become more dependent on humans for food and hunting small prey rather than the large hunts of wolves.

Dogs at the time, he said, ate “fish, shellfish, seals and sea lions that they couldn’t easily get on their own.” He added that they ate fish “in regions of Siberia where lakes and rivers were frozen for seven to eight months a year.”

While the wolves of those times, as well as the present-day wolves, hunted in groups and ate basic types of deer.

Advantages and Challenges

New dog diets present both benefits and challenges. “The advantages are because they have access to human food, easily at first, but at the cost of new diseases and problems,” Lucy noted.

While the new bacteria and parasites they were exposed to may have helped some of them adapt, it is possible that entire groups of dogs did not survive.

Most of the first dogs in the Americas went extinct, for reasons that are unclear, and were replaced by European dogs, although colonization is not to blame for the process.

The dogs that survived gained more diverse gut microbes, which helped them digest more of the carbohydrates associated with living with humans.