There’s a reason dogs are dogs and wolves are wolves. Thousands of years ago, dogs were able to adapt to a human diet, scavenging and eating human leftovers, including waste on farms. This starchy diet has long gone hand in hand with the idea that dogs are able to be man’s best friend.

Dogs wouldn’t be so friendly if they were looking to eat you. However, a recent study found that today’s dogs have multiple genes devoted to breaking down starches—which means they have evolved to process human food. In order to obtain these results, a group of scientists from Uppsala University ran tests on more than 50 types of today’s dogs. They then corresponded the genetics of the dogs with genetics of 12 wolves, finding that both dogs and wolves have genes to metabolize starches, but only dogs seem to be able to process them effectively.

According to BBC News, the study also found that dogs had developed brain development genes that allowed them to be trained more easily by humans. Currently, the theory goes that humans initially trained canines that were easier to tame and eventually those canines evolved into dogs. The study was published in the journal Nature, and while the findings are not particularly surprising, the facts behind how dogs came into existence are still wide open for debate. Theories range from wolves stealing leftovers to multiple domestications, but we are still not close to a clear truth. At the end of the day, it’s still great that humans get the opportunity to care for loveable, joyful, and smart dogs.



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