New evidence suggests that dogs have been living alongside humans for more than twice as long as was previously thought:
Previous studies have indicated that the ancestors of modern-day dogs diverged from wolves no more than 16,000 years ago, after the last ice age. But new evidence – from a small bone found in a remote region of Siberia – indicates that the special relationship between man and dog is much older.

Analysis of the 35,000-year-old rib bone fragment from the Taimyr Peninsular showed that it belonged to the most recent common ancestor of modern wolves and dogs.

...In their paper, the scientists point out that there have been several reports of dog-like "canids" – the family that includes wolves and domestic dogs – up to 36,000 years old in the fossil record. There was also evidence that domesticated dogs may have accompanied early humans migrating from Asia to North America, possibly as long as 30,000 years ago.

The researchers wrote: "Our results provide direct evidence for a longer timescale for the divergence of the dog and wolf lineages than previously assumed, and thus suggest that dogs may have originated much earlier than commonly accepted."
Humankind owes so much of our success and survival to dogs. They have helped us hunt and protected us from predators. They ensured agricultural success by keeping critters away from cultivated land. They flushed pests from the earth. They helped us herd. They helped us navigate. They kept us warm. They accompanied us to war. They have retrieved on land and in water. They were service dogs to people with disabilities long before we even had a term like "service dog."

They have been our companions, in every conceivable way, for longer than we imagined.

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