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The dog or domestic dog (Canis familiaris) is a domesticated descendant of the wolf, characterized by an upturning tail. The dog derived from an ancient, extinct wolf, and the modern grey wolf is the dog's nearest living relative. The dog was the first species to be domesticated, by huntergatherers over 15, 000 years ago, before the development of agriculture. Due to their long association with humans, dogs have expanded to a large number of domestic individuals and gained the ability to thrive on a starch-rich diet that would be inadequate for other canids. Over the millennia, dogs became uniquely adapted to human behavior, and the human-canine bond has been a topic of frequent study. The dog has been selectively bred over millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes. Dog breeds vary widely in shape, size, and color. They perform many roles for humans, such as hunting, herding, pulling loads, protection, assisting police and the military, companionship, therapy, and aiding disabled people. This influence on human society has given them the sobriquet of 'man's best friend. ' Taxonomy In 1758, the Swedish botanist and zoologist Carl Linnaeus published in his Systema Naturae, the two-word naming of species (binomial nomenclature). Canis is the Latin word meaning 'dog, ' and under this genus, he listed the domestic dog, the grey wolf, and the golden jackal. He classified the domestic dog as Canis familiaris and, on the next page, classified the grey wolf as Canis lupus. Linnaeus considered the dog to be a separate species from the wolf because of its upturning tail (cauda recurvata), which is not found in any other canid. In 1999, a study of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) indicated that the domestic dog may have originated from the grey wolf, with the dingo and New Guinea singing dog breeds having developed at a time when human communities were more isolated from each other. In the third edition of Mammal Species of the World published in 2005, the mammalogist W. Christopher Wozencraft listed under the wolf Canis lupus its wild subspecies and proposed two additional subspecies, which formed the domestic dog clade: familiaris, as named by Linneaus in 1758 and, dingo named by Meyer in 1793.
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