"Dogs, in other words, evolved a mechanism for digesting starches that wolves don’t have. “This was the big surprise. No one had anticipated it,” Axelsson says.
Axelsson says his findings fit well with the scavenger hypothesis. If wolves had wanted to get human food, they would have needed to evolve both trusting behaviors and mechanisms for digesting starch. “Selection pressures to change both the behavior and the digestive system may have been happening at the same time,” Axelsson says.
Other experts point out, though, that these changes could have easily come about at different times. It’s possible, even likely, that wolves started hanging around our dumps a few thousand years before we had any starches to speak of. In order to know for sure, future studies will need to compare DNA from a wider range of dog breeds as well as from dog fossils.
The second is that dogs can teach us about our own history and genetic evolution. Get this: Human studies suggest that we, too, picked up extra copies of the alpha-amylase gene during the agricultural revolution. “We have evolved, co-evolved, in parallel to the same environmental change, which was the development of agriculture,” Axelsson says. “It makes you realize how big a change it must’ve been.”
Virginia Hughes - "People & Dogs: A Genetic Love Story" via @natgeo
#whodomesticatedwho #oyashiva #villagedog #americandingo #rescuedog #adoptdontshop #evolutionarybiology #alphaamylase