Origins and evolution of the dog

© Kitch Bain/Fotolia

Bearing in mind the impact of dogs and their ever increasing roles in human society it is only natural to wonder where this exceptional species came from and how it formed such close ties with humans. If we agree that Planet Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old, then the first mammals (100 million years ago), the first canids (50 million years ago) and the first hominids (3 million years ago) emerged very recently indeed. If the history of Planet Earth were to be recorded on a mile-long roll of paper, mammals would not appear until the last few feet, and dogs not until the last few inches.