Wow, Dienekes’ Anthropology blog posted a link to a recent paper that adds a new layer of complexity to the debate about the origins of dog domestication. This paper presents findings which point to a European origin:
The mitochondrial genomes of all modern dogs are phylogenetically most closely related to either ancient or modern canids of Europe. Molecular dating suggests an onset of domestication there 18,800 to 32,100 years ago. These findings imply that domestic dogs are the culmination of a process that initiated with European hunter-gatherers and the canids with whom they interacted.
If the thought of reading a scientific paper seems a little scary, check out this concise and fairly easy to understand podcast transcript in which the results of the ancient DNA analysis are explained. I had to read the interview in lieu of the paper because you need a subscription to access it, but here’s a link to the paper.
Related: A paper published in 2011 argued the origin of domesticated dogs is Southern East Asia.