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Humans were breeding sled dogs 9500 years ago, DNA evidence suggests

A new study bolsters the idea that humans began to breed sled dogs in the Arctic more than 9500 years ago, The New York Times reports. In 2017, scientists discovered archaeological evidence that ancient humans seemed to have bred dogs to pull sleds on the remote Siberian island of Zhokhov—making it the first evidence for any sort of dog breeding in the archaeological record. The new study, published today in Science, adds DNA evidence suggesting the dogs had already begun to evolve to adapt to the temperatures and oxygen requirements of the job. The adaptations were so successful that they still show up in today’s sled dogs in Greenland (above).

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