Peter W. Stahl

Durham University, Durham, ENG, United Kingdom

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Publications (3)10.67 Total impact

  • Peter W. Stahl ·
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    ABSTRACT: Although common and widespread today throughout the neotropical lowlands, the domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) may have been a relatively recent introduction into certain areas. Numerous early documents, however, implicate the precolumbian presence of tamed endemic South American canids, at least in lowland areas of northern South America and the adjacent Caribbean. These early and limited descriptions of small dogs that did not bark were eventually dismissed in the scholarly literature as simply domesticated dogs that were trained not to bark. A review of the earliest documentation of indigenous canids in the Spanish Main, and subsequent accounts of tamed endemic canids in various parts of the continent, suggests that native foxes or forest dogs could have been tamed. Varied sources written at different times and from different areas of lowland South America also mention interbreeding of endemic canids with domesticated dogs. The control of tamed endemic canids by indigenous populations could also have factored into the late appearance of the domestic dog, particularly in portions of the Amazon Basin.
    12/2013; 69(4):515. DOI:10.3998/jar.0521004.0069.405
  • Peter W. Stahl ·
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    ABSTRACT: Humans inhabiting South America during early portions of the Holocene variably interacted with native foxes (Family Canidae) in different parts of the continent at a time when there is little firm evidence for the presence of domesticated dogs (Canis familiaris). Preserved specimens of native fox tend to be ubiquitous in early archaeological contexts for which we have associated archaeofaunal samples. In a few cases these include association with human interments. The foxes endemic to these regions are predisposed to broad-spectrum diets, opportunistic behaviors and a tolerance of a wide range of habitats, particularly in open settings with increased resource supply. This can underlie a tendency for fox species to habituate themselves to anthropogenic conditions and humans. Indigenous South Americans may have formed early, and at times intimate, connections with endemic canids which endure into the present.
    Journal of Ethnobiology 07/2012; 32(1):108-127. DOI:10.2993/0278-0771-32.1.108 · 1.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The dog was the first domesticated animal but it remains uncertain when the domestication process began and whether it occurred just once or multiple times across the Northern Hemisphere. To ascertain the value of modern genetic data to elucidate the origins of dog domestication, we analyzed 49,024 autosomal SNPs in 1,375 dogs (representing 35 breeds) and 19 wolves. After combining our data with previously published data, we contrasted the genetic signatures of 121 breeds with a worldwide archeological assessment of the earliest dog remains. Correlating the earliest archeological dogs with the geographic locations of 14 so-called "ancient" breeds (defined by their genetic differentiation) resulted in a counterintuitive pattern. First, none of the ancient breeds derive from regions where the oldest archeological remains have been found. Second, three of the ancient breeds (Basenjis, Dingoes, and New Guinea Singing Dogs) come from regions outside the natural range of Canis lupus (the dog's wild ancestor) and where dogs were introduced more than 10,000 y after domestication. These results demonstrate that the unifying characteristic among all genetically distinct so-called ancient breeds is a lack of recent admixture with other breeds likely facilitated by geographic and cultural isolation. Furthermore, these genetically distinct ancient breeds only appear so because of their relative isolation, suggesting that studies of modern breeds have yet to shed light on dog origins. We conclude by assessing the limitations of past studies and how next-generation sequencing of modern and ancient individuals may unravel the history of dog domestication.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/2012; 109(23):8878-83. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1203005109 · 9.67 Impact Factor