Today, they’re man’s best friend, but dogs may have originally come to humans as their best bet for dinner. Researchers in Sweden examined the DNA of dogs around the world and found that they all seemed to be of the same lineage, pointing to “a single domestication event” in southern China, a region with a history of eating dogs, the New York Times reports.
Wolves scrounged human garbage for food, grew tamer, and were caught and bred, says the study’s head geneticist. While they may first have been eaten, they were soon likely used for other purposes. They expanded west, but probably not as food, since most people don’t snack on dog, the researcher notes. Instead, they likely were used for guarding and pulling sleds.