DNA Says Dogs First Appeared in Central Asia

But the debate over the origins of puppies is far from over.


The question of exactly where dogs appeared on the scene remains far more contentious than simply asking who’s a good boy. (You! You are!) Some scientists say Europe is the cradle of dog life, while others have argued for the Middle East. Now a fresh study comes with evidence that central Asia gave rise to man’s best friend.

Published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the research analyzed DNA from 549 dogs representing 38 countries on every continent. Cornell’s Adam Boyko and his colleagues used free roaming “village dogs” rather than household pets. Their findings pointed to Asia as the source of all that is furry and lovable.

Of course this settles nothing. Boyko’s findings have their supporters, but like a you-know-what with a bone, UCLA’s Robert Wayne won’t let go of his theory that dogs started in Europe, telling Phys he questioned Boyko’s use of modern genetic material. Regardless, dogs would probably still appreciate it if you rubbed their bellies for them sometimes because they’ve tried to reach that itch themselves and evolution completely failed them on that one.