Wolves were small before they became dogs

It was long thought that small breeds of canids appeared after domestication, they would in fact be older.

From the Pyrenean Patou to the Maltese bichon, only one species of canine: the canis lupus familiaris, in other words the dog. Appearing around 15,000 years ago, dogs are direct descendants of wild wolves and their diversity in size, weight and build was thought to be the result of domestication. An international team publishes in the journal Current Biology an article showing that size differences were actually a feature present in their ancestors. “These disparities in size are found in species that are cousins ​​of the dog, explains Jocelyn Plassais, first author of the publication and researcher at the University of Rennes I. Wolves are an exception today, but we have discovered that this diversity also existed among them tens of thousands of years ago. It was the last period of glaciation that led to a standardization of the size of wolves and the virtual disappearance of the smallest.

In general, the…

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