By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao
When the first farmers of Europe migrated west from the Near East around 10,000 years ago, they packed everything hey needed: crop seeds, domesticated animals, tools, and most importantly, man’s best friend.
A team of international researchers in a study published in Biology Letters, a journal by the Royal Society, said that dogs accompanied Near Eastern farmers during their journey westward.
Dogs, according to the researchers, have been linked to humans for more than 15,000 years.
Agriculture rose about 11,000 years ago in a region that includes Iran and Iraq. In the later years, farmers from that region migrated to the Asian part of Turkey. From there, many of them journeyed north to southeastern Europe along with their dogs.
Before the farmers arrived in southeast Europe about 8,200 years ago, the region was occupied only by hunter-gatherers who had dogs as well. But they were different from the farmers’ and foragers’ dogs.
Morgane Ollivier, a geneticist at the University of Rennes and co-lead author of the study, and Anne Tresset, director of the National Center for Scientific Research in France and a co-lead author of the study as well, are still studying the evolution of early European farm dogs.
They are slowly unearthing that these animals, like people, also adapted to an agricultural diet which possibly consisted of cereals, peas, and lentils.