General, Research, Technology

When did people start using dogs for movement?

We are already used to moving to distantdistances using cars, buses, trains and other modes of transport. But the inhabitants of the northern regions of Russia, due to the constant snow cover, still move on sleds, in which several reindeer or sled dogs are harnessed. Scientists already know that dogs are one of the very first domestic animals that still help people while hunting, searching and catching criminals, as well as protecting houses and other valuable property. But in what period of time did people teach dogs such complex work as moving heavy loads from one place to another? Recently, researchers found out that this happened on the territory of ancient Siberia, and a very long time ago.

In the photo - Alaskan Malamute

Long sleds for dog teams are called sledges. The person who drives the sled is musher.

Ancient dogs

Finding out the date and place of occurrence of the firstthe sled dogs were taken up by the authors of the QIMMEQ project, specially created for this kind of research. On the territory of modern Yakutia there is the so-called island of Zhokhov, where about 9 thousand years ago, representatives of the Middle Stone Age lived. During the excavation, the remains of ancient dogs were found in this area, next to which unusual bone products were discovered. In their form, they reminded scientists of the clasps that use modern Eskimos to build dog teams.

Fragments of the sled that were found on the island of Zhokhov

The age of the remains of animals was estimated at 9.5 thousandyears old. Researchers extracted DNA from the bones of the dogs they found - molecules that store instructions for the development of various living organisms. These data were compared with the genetic information of 114 dogs and wolves from around the world. It turned out that, from a genetic point of view, the dogs found are close relatives of modern sledding breeds like the Siberian husky, malamute and Greenland dogs. Based on this, scientists have suggested that people began to use dogs to move long distances in Siberia, about 9 thousand years ago.

Another representative of sled dogs is the Siberian Husky.

Dog history

According to the main author of the study, MikkelSynding (Mikkel Sinding), the results of a new scientific work refute the opinion that sled dogs appeared relatively recently - about 3 thousand years ago. Moreover, a new study proves that sled dogs are very different from regular breeds. Basically, the difference is that they are less afraid of the cold and more hardy, so they can quickly run long distances, carrying a heavy load.

See also: Is it possible to teach a wolf to execute commands?

Most likely, such differences are mainlydue to nutrition - the inhabitants of the northern regions eat more fatty foods, and this is true even in the example with animals. Sled dogs also have more active blood vessels, which makes them better absorb oxygen and retain heat in the body. Even with a lack of oxygen, which can occur during prolonged physical exertion, the sled dogs' muscles contract well. Dogs of other breeds cannot boast of such features.

Greenland dogs - representatives of one of the oldest sled breeds

Another opinion about the discovery was shared by anotherstudy participant, Vladimir Pitulko. He believes that the ancient inhabitants of the island of Zhokhov took care of their pets until the very end, even if they were old and sick. The use of dog teams still has a place to be, but mostly people now use deer for these purposes, because they are stronger and more durable. If a dog team includes, say, a dozen dogs, then a deer can use half as many animals.

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In addition, do not forget that technology does notstand still. At the end of 2019, I wrote that the Chinese Laikago Pro dog robots can already lift heavy loads - the video inside the article shows how they pull the car with them while a person is sitting on them. The cost of the robot is about $ 45,000, but in the future such mechanisms may become cheaper. So, after 10 years, we are unlikely to be surprised if the Eskimos will use them to move them, and sled dogs will cool by their sleigh next to them.