The evolutionary history of dogs in the Americas

We love our canine friends and can’t imagine a life without them, but how much do we really know about our four-legged companions? These pooches weren’t always the way we know and love them today. In fact, they have come a long way since their birth all those thousands of years ago. Have no fear; you no longer have to worry about wondering all about your companions as we take a look at the evolutionary history of dogs in the Americas.

Back in the beginning

Believe it or not, but research shows that dogs have been around in the Americas for more than 9,000 years. Wow. However, they weren’t always the way we imagine. These dogs were less of the cute and cuddly pets we know today as they were there to help on hunts, provide companionship, and even help protect the humans from other wild threats.

The evolutionary history of dogs in the Americas

Finding their place

It seems as though these dogs had a long list of jobs to do since the moment they were domesticated. However, they were still able to find themselves a place in the camp. Native Americans were among the first to regard dogs as part of the family. In fact, these four-legged friends had been living alongside Native Americans for hundreds of years before the arrival of Europeans.

Ancient roots

You might not be alone in thinking that dogs in the Americas must have evolved from the North American wolf. However, evidence shows this could be a distraction that has been thrown in our way. Research, fossils, and studying history has all shown that rather than evolving from their North American ancestors, these dogs actually evolved from Siberian dogs instead.

The intricate details

Scientists have spent years studying the remains of these dogs to see just what it was that made up these ancient canines. It was in doing so they were able to discover the truth about their Siberian roots. Here, scientists ran tests on seven nuclear genomes and 71 mitochondrial genomes from both Siberian and North American dogs from over the years. After looking into the finer details, the truth was finally revealed about where they came from.

The evolutionary history of dogs in the Americas

Getting wiped out

As the world continued to expand, people continued to move all around the world. So it wasn’t long before the Europeans made their way over to America. However, their arrival saw the departure of someone else: the Native Americans’ dogs. Yes, Europeans managed to successfully run the breed out of the country until they were nearly entirely gone. This made a huge impact on the species for many years to come.

Their modern-day effect

Getting wiped out by the arrival of a brand new set of people was devastating for the dogs in the Americas. However, the Europeans brought their own species of dogs, and it wasn’t long before canines took over the country. Unfortunately, all that mixing up genetics means that Native Americans’ dogs’ genes have almost entirely disappeared from circulation with only a few now matching up.

We love our canine friends, but we never knew they had such a history. Plus, we never would have guessed they have been part of our lives for so many years. Imagine if they really had been wiped out from existence? That certainly would be a world not worth living in.