Looking back into the pooch family tree will help researchers learn more not only about dogs, but about ancient people, as well. A genetic map of dog domestication could reveal important information about human migration and trade routes. "We may be able to turn dogs into a genetic marker for what human populations were doing," Boyko says.
He adds that he and his colleagues also plan to "look for which regions of the genome went under selection earliest," and from that "we'll also learn what traits were selected for at that time." That knowledge, along with a little help from archaeologists, may be able to uncover sniff out just why the dog was so special and became most likely the first domesticated species.