Animals - the Domestic Dog

Topics: Dog, Canidae, Gray Wolf Pages: 3 (886 words) Published: February 26, 2012
The domestic dog (a union of Canis lupus familiaris[3] and Canis lupus dingo[1][2]) is a subspecies of the gray wolf (Canis lupus), a member of theCanidae family of the mammilian order "Carnivora". The technical term "domestic dog" is used for both domesticated and feral varieties, although in some contexts is contrasted with the word "dingo." The dog may have been the first animal to be domesticated, and has been the most widely keptworking, hunting, and companion animal in human history. The word "dog" may also mean the male of a canine species,[4] as opposed to the word "bitch" for the female of the species.[5] The present lineage of dogs was domesticated from gray wolves about 15,000 years ago.[6] Remains of domesticated dogs have been found in Siberia and Belgium from about 33,000 years ago. The earlier specimens not only show shortening of the snout but widening of the muzzle and some crowding of teeth making them clearly domesticated dogs and not wolves. There are more sites of varying ages in and around Europe and Asia younger than 33,000 years ago but significantly older than 15,000 years ago. None of these early domestication lineages seem to have survived the Last Glacial Maximum. Although mDNA suggest a split between dogs and wolves around 100,000 years ago no specimens predate 33,000 years ago that are clearly morphologically domesticated dog. Dogs' value to early human hunter-gatherers led to them quickly becoming ubiquitous across world cultures. Dogs perform many roles for people, such as hunting, herding, pulling loads, protection, assisting police and military, companionship, and, more recently, aiding handicapped individuals. This impact on human society has given them the nickname "Man's Best Friend" in the Western world. In some cultures, dogs are also an important source of meat.[7][8] In 2001, there were estimated to be 400 million dogs in the world.[9] Most breeds of dogs are at most a few hundred years old, having been artificially...
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