There’s a much ballyhooed article from Science going around that promotes the surprising conclusion that dogs were first domesticated in Europe. Dan Graur points out that there is one little problem with the data:
The take home message of the Thalmann et al. paper is simple: Dogs were not domesticated in the Middle East or China as previously claimed; they were domesticated in Europe. Let me repeat the main result of this paper: Dogs were domesticated in Europe; previous claims on the domestication of dogs in the Middle East or China are wrong and have been refuted.
Interestingly, on page 873, it is written:
“Notably, our ancient panel does not contain specimens from the Middle East or China, two proposed centers of origin (5, 6).”
So, the origin of dogs was moved from the Middle East or China to Europe by the simple expedient of omitting any sample from the Middle East or China.
Well, the paper does have the primary prerequisites for getting published in Science: superficially sexy data sets, involving a familiar large and photogenic animal, an unexpected result, with a high probability of drawing the attention of the mass media. That’s what we mean by “significant research,” right?
Say, isn’t that also the formula for a TED talk?