Dogs were the first domesticated species, but the timing and location of their domestication has long been debated.

Now, researchers are suggesting that modern dogs can trace their origins to Central Asia.

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Using genetic data from more than 5,000 dogs, including 550 feral village dogs, the study out of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine found strong evidence that dogs were domesticated in Central Asia, perhaps near present-day Nepal and Mongolia.

The author of the study, Professor Adam Boyko, appeared on "Happening Now" today and explained that the feral dogs represent a crucial piece in the picture of modern dog diversity.

"By looking at the feral dogs, we see traces of genetic ancestry deeper in time, whereas with the purebred dogs we see lots of modern breeding that has kind of skewed the genetic signatures," Boyko said.

He explained that by looking at free-breeding, free-ranging dogs, they could see the patterns of diversity focusing on a center of diversity in Central Asia.

Watch the "Happening Now" report above.

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