Understanding the timing and geographic context of dog origins is a crucial component for understanding human history, as well as the evolutionary context in which the morphological and behavioral divergence of dogs from wolves occurred. A substantial challenge to understanding domestication is that dogs have experienced a complicated demographic history. An initial severe bottleneck was associated with domestication followed by postdivergence gene flow between dogs and wolves, as well as population expansions, contractions, and replacements. In addition, because the domestication of dogs occurred in the relatively recent past, much of the observed polymorphism may be shared between dogs and wolves, limiting the power to distinguish between alternative models of dog history. Greater insight into the domestication process will require explicit tests of alternative models of domestication through the joint analysis of whole genomes from modern lineages and ancient wolves and dogs from across Eurasia.


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