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An unprecedented collaboration may solve one of the greatest mysteries of domestication. The School of Archaeology's Dr. Greger Larson, features in this month's Science Magazine.

Dawn of the dog

Image credit: Shutterstock

A group led by Dr Greger Larsen at Oxford University is working on a project to study the origin of dogs. Dr Larsen's team is in the process of collecting 4,000 skulls and teeth of different ages from across the world which they plan to analyse genetically and evaluate the way in which their shapes have changed through the years. Dr Larsen says that the archaeological evidence is biased towards the later stages of dog evolution because dogs probably didn't start looking like dogs as we know them until relatively recently. However, he believes the process was a continuous one, so much so that he has banned the use of the words "dog" and "wolf" in his lab. Dr Larsen said: ‘It probably started with an unconscious phase where wolves were gradually getting used to human populations, following them around and eating their waste products. The changes that we now ascribe that differentiate dogs and wolves may not have emerged for a very long time.’

Read more in Science Magazine