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Rethinking dog domestication by integrating genetics, archeology, and biogeography


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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.
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Larson, Greger and Karlsson, Elinor K. and Perri, Angela and Webster, Matthew T. and Ho, Simon Y. W.
and Peters, Joris and Stahl, Peter W. and Piper, Philip J. and Lingaas, Frode and Fredholm, Merete and
Comstock, Kenine E. and Modiano, Jaime F. and Schelling, Claude and Agoulnik, Alexander I. and Leegwater,
Peter A. and Dobney, Keith and Vigne, Jean-Denis and Vil, Carles and Andersson, Leif and Lindblad-Toh,
Kerstin (2012) ’Rethinking dog domestication by integrating genetics, archeology, and biogeography.’,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America., 109 (28). pp. 8878-8883.
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Rethinking dog domestication by integrating genetics,
archeology, and biogeography
Greger Larson
, Elinor K. Karlsson
, Angela Perri
, Matthew T. Webster
, Simon Y. W. Ho
, Joris Peters
Peter W. Stahl
, Philip J. Piper
, Frode Lingaas
, Merete Fredholm
, Kenine E. Comstock
, Jaime F. Modiano
Claude Schelling
, Alexander I. Agoulnik
, Peter A. Leegwater
, Keith Dobney
, Jean-Denis Vigne
, Carles Vilà
Leif Andersson
, and Kerstin Lindblad-Toh
Durham Evolution and Ancient DNA, Department of Archaeology, University of Durham, Durham DH1 3LE, United Kingdom;
Broad Institute of MIT
and Harvard, Cambridge MA 02142;
Faculty of Arts and Sciences Center for Systems Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge MA 02138;
Science for Life
Laboratory Uppsala, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology, Uppsala University, SE-751 23 Uppsala, Sweden;
School of Biological Sciences,
University of Sydney, Sydney NSW 2006, Australia;
Veterinary Sciences Department, Institute of Palaeoanatomy, Domestication Research and the History of
Veterinary Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilian University, 80539 Munich, Germany;
Department of Anthropology, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada V8W
School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 200, Australia;
Archaeological Studies
Program, University of the Philippines, Diliman, 1101, Quezon City, Philippines;
Department of Basic Sciences and Aquatic Medicine, Division of Genetics,
Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, 0033 Oslo, Norway;
Faculty of Life Sciences, Division of Genetics and Bioinformatics, Department of Basic Animal
and Veterinary Sciences, University of Copenhagen, 7-1870 Frederiksberg C, Denmark;
University of Michigan-Dearborn, Dearborn, MI 48128;
of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108;
Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota,
Minneapolis, MN 55455;
Department of Animal Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and Vetsuisse Faculty Zurich, University of Zurich, 8092
Zurich, Switzerland;
Department of Human and Molecular Genetics, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Florida International University, Miami, FL
Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, 3508 TD Utrecht, The Netherlands;
Department of Archaeology, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3UF, Scotland, United Kingdom;
Département Ecologie et Gestion de la Biodiversité,
Muséum National dHistoire Naturelle, Archéozoologie, Archéobotanique: Sociétés, Pratiques et Environnements,Centre National de la Recherche
Scientique-Institut Ecologie et Environement, F-75005 Paris, France;
Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics Group, Doñana Biological Station, 41092
Seville, Spain; and
Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-75123 Uppsala, Sweden
Edited by Joachim Burger, Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz, Germany, and accepted by the Editorial Board April 17, 2012 (received for review February
20, 2012)
The dog was the rst 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 ancientbreeds (dened by
their genetic differentiation) resulted in a counterintuitive pattern.
First,none of the ancient breeds derive from regions where theoldest
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 dogs wild an-
cestor) and where dogs were introduced more than 10,000 y after
domestication. These results demonstrate that the unifying charac-
teristic 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.
Darwin speculated about the origins of several domestic ani-
mals and suggested that, given the vast morphological vari-
ation across numerous breeds, dogs must have had more than
one wild ancestor (1). Recent genetic studies, however, support
the notion that dogs are descended exclusively from the gray wolf
(Canis lupus) (2).
Beyond questions regarding wild ancestry, geneticists and
generations of archeologists have investigated not only how and
why dogs were domesticated, but also when, where, and how many
times it may have occurred. Unique among all domestic animals,
the rst unambiguous domestic dogs precede the appearance of
settled agriculture in the archeological record by several thousand
years. Identifying the earliest dogs is difcult, however, because
key morphological characters established by zooarcheologists to
differentiate domestic animals from their wild wolf ancestors (e.g.,
size and position of teeth, dental pathologies, and size and pro-
portion of cranial and postcranial elements) were not yet xed
during the initial phases of the domestication process. Further-
more, the range of natural variation among these characters in
ancient wolf populations and the time it took for these traits to
appear in dogs are unknown. Free-ranging wolves attracted to the
refuse generated by human camps most likely followed a com-
mensal pathway to domestication that was neither deliberate nor
directed (3). Because the process was not unidirectional, the
telltale traits archeologists use to differentiate wolves and dogs
probably took numerous generations to become apparent in the
archeological record.
Despite the difculties associated with the use of archeological
evidence to pinpoint the timing of domestication, there is a general
consensus that domestic dogs were present in the Levant (including
Cyprus), Iraq, Northern China, and the Kamchatka peninsula in
Far Eastern Russia by 12,000 y ago, and in western Europe a few
millennia before that. Recent studies have made claims that do-
mestic (or incipient) dogs were present even earlier during the Late
Pleistocene in Belgium (4), the Czech Republic (5), and south-
western Siberia (6). Morphological analyses suggest that although
some of the early canid remains possess characteristics broadly
similar to those found in modern dogs, it remains possible that the
bones represent either wolves going through the initial phases of an
incomplete domestication process (6) or a morphologically distinct
local, now-extinct population of wolves.
The use of more advanced morphometric analyses is allowing
zooarcheologists to have greater condence in identifying early
Authorcontributions: G.L., E.K., and K.L.-T.designed research; G.L.,E.K., A.P., F.L., M.F., K.E.C.,
J.F.M., C.S., A.I.A., P.L., C.V., and K.L.-T. performed research; G.L., E.K., M.T.W., S.Y.W.H., J.P.,
P.W.S., P.J.P., J.-D.V., C.V., L.A., and K.L.-T. analyzed data; and G.L., E.K., A.P., M.T.W., S.Y.W.H.,
J.P., P.W.S., P.J.P., J.F.M., K.D., J.-D.V., C.V., L.A., and K.L.-T. wrote the paper.
The authors declare no conict of interest.
This article is a PNAS Direct Submission. J.B. is a guest editor invited by the Editorial Board.
Freely available online through the PNAS open access option.
To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:
This article contains supporting information online at
1073/pnas.1203005109/-/DCSupplemental. PNAS Early Edition
dogs (7). Given the geographical breadth of these nds, arche-
ologists have (generally) been reluctant to postulate exact loca-
tions where dogs may have been domesticated. Instead, they
have broadly accepted the plausibility of the existence of nu-
merous, independent centers of dog domestication beginning in
the Late Pleistocene (8).
Many genetic studies of modern dogs and wolves have been less
circumspect. Armed rst with fragments of mitochondrial DNA
and molecular clocks, the authors of one study concluded that
dogs were domesticated 135,000 y ago (9). A separate study later
analyzed a similar mitochondrial fragment sequenced from 654
dogs and, on the basis of regional patterns of modern dog diversity,
deduced that dogs were domesticated just once in East Asia (10).
Both of these claims have since been challenged. First, it is
highly likely that the use of deep fossil calibrations for molecular
clocks has led to a signicant overestimation of the timing of dog
domestication (11). Second, analyses of African street dogs sug-
gested that a single East Asian origin was too simplistic (12). A
study of 48,000 SNPs in 912 dogs and 225 gray wolves concluded
that both East Asian and Near Eastern wolf populations con-
tributed DNA to modern dog breeds (13). Other studies that have
incorporated nuclear markers also suggest diverse geographic
origins of dogs (14), and with the application of a broader, more
integrated approach, the genetic and archeological perspectives
have become more closely aligned. However, despite the volume
of new data, the estimates of when, where, and how many times
dogs were domesticated remain disconcertingly imprecise.
One signicant insight that genetic studies have yielded, using
both microsatellites (15) and SNPs (13), is the identication of
several genetically divergent modern dog breeds in well-sup-
ported basal positions on phylogenetic trees. This early-branching
pattern has been used to designate these breeds as ancient(13).
To avoid conating genetic differentiation with presumed ancient
heritage (16), we will instead refer to these lineages as basal.
The term breedis also problematic. The focus on general
classes of dogs (e.g., sight hounds, scent hunters, shepherd dogs,
and giant dogs) likely has prehistoric roots and led to the de-
velopment of broadly distinct forms of dogs. For example, three
differently sized dog types have been recorded at the 8,000-y-old
Svaerdborg site in Denmark (17). Modern breeding practices,
focused on distinct breeds with strict aesthetic requirements and
closed bloodlines, only emerged in the 19th century, and claims
for the antiquity (and long-term continuity) of modern breeds are
based upon little or no historical or empirical evidence. In fact,
recent historical records clearly demonstrate that most modern
breeds experienced signicant population uctuations within the
past 100 y (Table S1). Here, we only use the term breedwhen
referring to modern dog breeds recognized by kennel clubs.
To test the branching pattern of the previously identied basal
breeds and to assess the status of unstudied breeds (Table 1 and
Table S1), we used 49,024 SNPs typed in 19 wolves and 1,375
dogs from 35 breeds. In addition, we compiled a broad temporal
and geographic survey of dog domestication by undertaking
a global examination of the archeological record (Tables S2 and
S3). By comparing the zooarcheological evidence with the geo-
graphical origins of the total set of modern breeds, we estab-
lished a framework for understanding why some breeds have
retained basal signatures and why most have not.
Results and Discussion
Genetic History of Modern Breeds. A neighbor-joining phylogenetic
tree inferred using our data (Fig. 1) was broadly similar to those
described previously (13, 15). A deep genetic split is evident be-
tween Old World and New World wolves (Table S4) at the base of
the tree. From there, high bootstrap values (>95%) support the
basal position and genetic distinctiveness of the so-called ancient
(basal) breeds: the Akita, Basenji, Eurasier, Finnish Spitz, Saluki,
and Shar-Pei (Fig. 1 and Table 1). Although the relationships
between numerous breeds that have been crossed recently (e.g.,
Dachshunds) are well supported, and although each of nonbasal
breeds is strongly monophyletic, the relationships between them
are poorly resolved (Fig. 1).
When our results are combined with those from the two previous
studies (13, 15), the total number of basal breeds increases to 16.
Two of these basal breeds have shallow histories. The American
Eskimo breed was deliberately created by crossing Keeshonds,
Volpinos, and Pomeranians, and after World War II, Japanese
Spitzes may also have been incorporated (18). The name Amer-
ican Eskimowas derived from the kennel that originally began
breeding them, despite the fact that the breed never had an asso-
ciation with Inuits. The highly mixed heritage of the breed is evi-
dent from its position on the phylogenetic tree, which is depen-
dent on the choice of analytical technique. The American Eskimo
appears alongside the basal Samoyed in trees estimated using 10-
SNP windows; however, it is positioned next to Pomeranians on
a tree inferred using individual SNPs (13).
Table 1. A list of 16 breeds that were either labeled ancientin previous publications or were
identied as basal in this study
Breed Parker et al. (15) Vonholdt et al. (13) Present study
Afghan Hound
Alaskan Malamute
American Eskimo (recent) y*
Chow Chow
Eurasier (recent) y
Finnish Spitz
New Guinea singing dog
Shiba Inu
Siberian Husky
The letters y,n, and y*indicate basal breeds, nonbasal breeds, and an inconclusive result, respectively.
The absence of a letter indicates the breed was not a part of the study in question. Superscripted numbers
following breed names correlate with the numbers under the dog symbols in Fig. 2. Detailed descriptions of
these breeds are provided in Table S1.
| Larson et al.
The Eurasier is also a recently created breed, developed de-
liberately and xed in the 1960s by mixing Chow Chows with
Keeshonds and a single Samoyed (18). Because the majority of
the breeds used to create Eurasiers possess basal signatures (13,
15), Eurasiers also appear basal, although they are the only breed
whose monophyly is weakly supported (33% bootstrap value).
The remaining 14 basal breeds [including Samoyeds, which do
not appear basal on the phylogenetic tree inferred from micro-
satellite data (15), but are basal when using SNPs (13)] have
generally avoided admixture with other breeds (Table S1). This
avoidance is probably the only reason why they retain a genetic
legacy that extends beyond the age of modern breeding and the
establishment of kennel clubs during the second half of the 19th
century (19).
Despite the long history of human selection for specic dog
forms, there is a major disconnect between truly ancient dogs and
modern breeds. For example, unsubstantiated claims have been
made for the antiquity of the modern Irish Wolfhound. Wolf-
hound-type dogs were used to hunt wolves across Europe. In
Ireland, wolves were exterminated by 1786 (20), after which the
demand for Wolfhounds plummeted, and by 1840 the type was
either extinct or all but extinct. George Augustus Graham re-
vitalized (or recreated) the form by breeding one possible wolf-
hound to Scottish Deerhounds, and then incorporated Borzois
and Great Danes to create the modern breed that retained the
aesthetic of the original form, but not the genetic ancestry (18).
The story of the Irish Wolfhound is not unusual. Although the
origin myths of the Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh Corgis state
that their respective introductions to England differed by 2,000 y
(21), both types were allowed to interbreed for centuries before
being split into two modern breeds in the 1920s (18). Whatever
their deeper history, these breeds form strongly supported sister
clades on phylogenetic trees (13), meaning that their pre-
admixture heritage is invisible even with the resolving power of
tens of thousands of SNPs.
Both World Wars had a major impact on the genetic diversity
of the domestic dog. In the United Kingdom, English Mastiffs
were reduced to 14 individuals (18), Sussex Spaniels to 10 (22),
and Manchester Terriers to 11 (18). Bernese Mountain Dogs
(18) and Italian Greyhounds (22) vanished completely and many
other breeds suffered signicant bottlenecks (Table S1). Bol-
stering or recreating these breeds was accomplished by crossing
numerous other breeds, a practice that obscured whatever ge-
netic signatures of their early heritage that existed before the
World Wars, and ultimately led to highly inbred modern popula-
tions (23). Interestingly, the recent genetic homogenization has
occurred despite the increase in phenotypic disparity as breeders
have simultaneously closed breeding lines and selected for ex-
treme morphological traits (24).
Even the basal breeds identied in this and other studies expe-
rienced recent and signicant demographic change. The Shiba Inu
faced extinction in World War II and the modern breed is an
amalgamation of three isolated and distinct Japanese lineages
(18). The Finnish Spitz, supposedly used for millennia by Finno-
Ugric people, was nearly extinct by 1880. A single breeder, Hugo
Roos, set out to rescue the type by traveling to remote villages and
collecting the few remaining individuals least likely to have been
crossed (accidentally or purposely)with other breeds (18). The fact
that Finnish Spitzes retain a basal genetic signature is testament to
the success of Rooss efforts to obtain uncrossed individuals.
With the exception of the Alaskan Malamute, all 14 basal
breeds have geographic origins in the Old World (Table S1); this
is despite the fact that dogs were an integral part of the human
occupation of the New World and that several modern breeds,
including the Chihuahua, are thought to have been at least partly
derived from domestic dogs native to the New World. The general
lack of basal lineages in the Americas is likely because of the fact
that European breeds, initially introduced only 500 y ago, have
overwhelmed the native lineages. This nding was demonstrated
by a recent study of mitochondrial variation among street dogs in
South America, which concluded native maternal lineages were
almost entirely absent in New World dogs (25).
Finally, numerous widely geographically distributed dog pop-
ulations share identical mutations responsible for specic pheno-
types. Chinese and Mexican breeds both possess the same hair-
less gene (26), sub-Saharan African and Thai breeds possess a
ridged line of hair on their backs caused by the same genetic
mutation (27), and at least 19 different breeds possess the
Chinese Shar-Pei (50)
Akita (4)
Basenji (10)
Saluki (10)
Afghan (1)
Eurasier (49)
Finnish Spitz (68)
Tibetan Terrier (17)
Pekingese (8)
Pug (10)
Chinese Crested (39)
Schipperke (24)
White Shepherd (15)
Leonberger (34)
Doberman Pinscher (203)
Rottweiller (21) Boxer
Mastiff (9)
Neopolitan Mastiff (11)
Shetland Sheepdog (49)
Pembroke Welsh Corgi (56)
Greyhound (38)
Australian Cattle Dog (10)
Kerry Blue Terrier (3)
Poodle (49)
Lagotto Romagnolo (24) English Cocker Spaniel
German Shorthaired Pointer (10)
Basset Hound (10)
English Setter (10)
Dachshund (24) Golden Retriever
Labrador Retriever (1)
Wolves (New World) (6)
Wolves (Old World) (14)
English Bulldog (2)
Fig. 1. A neighbor-joining tree depicting the rela-
tionships between 35 breeds (with sample sizes) and
rooted with New and Old World Wolves. All clades
have been collapsed. Gray branches are poorly
supported, whereas black branches and black circles
indicate bootstrap values >95%. Clade colors depict
breeds that retain a basal signature (red), non-Eu-
ropean breeds that are not basal (blue), and Euro-
pean breeds that are rumored to have deep histo-
ries but are not basal (brown). The well-supported
relationships between Rottweilers and Doberman
Pinschers, Neapolitan Mastiffs, Mastiffs, English Bull-
dogs, Boxers, Shetland Sheepdogs, and Pembroke
Welsh Corgis are the result of known or suspected
recent admixture between these breeds. The well-
support relationship between Dachshunds and En-
glish Setters reects a recent interbreeding between
the Dachshund individuals used in this study with
English Setters.
Larson et al. PNAS Early Edition
identical mutation for foreshortened limbs (28). These mutations
are unlikely to have arisen multiple times independently, im-
plying a signicant degree of gene ow between breeds. This
evidence, combined with known demographic uctuations in
numerous breeds, suggests that throughout history global dog
populations experienced numerous episodes of diversication
and homogenization. Each successive round further reduced the
power of genetic data derived from modern breeds to infer the
early history of dog domestication.
Dogs in the Archeological Record. Identifying dog remains in the
archeological record is not always straightforward. First, it can be
difcult to discriminate between dogs and wolves, because dogs
were still morphologically wolf-like at the earliest stages of do-
mestication. In addition, and in contrast to their modern patchy
distribution, wolves were once dispersed across the Northern
Hemisphere (29) (Fig. 2). As a result, zooarcheologists cannot
establish the wild or domestic status of dog remains based solely
on geographic location as they can for sheep and goats, the na-
tive wild ranges of which were much more restricted.
Second, identifying dogs can be confounded by the presence of
several other extant and extinct species of similar-sized canids,
including foxes (Vulpes spp.) and maned wolves (Chrysocyon
brachyurus) in South America, dholes (Cuon spp.) in Europe and
Asia, jackals in Africa and Asia (Canis aureus,Canis adustus, and
Canis mesomelas), and African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) (30).
Recent efforts have been made to differentiate dogs from these
canid species using shape analyses (7), and numerous early claims
for domestic dogs have since been rejected because reanalyses
have revealed contradictory designations (Table S2). This is often
the case when preserved specimens are relatively scarce or frag-
mented, reducing the presence of specic distinguishing features
necessary to discriminate between closely related forms.
Third, a variety of factors can introduce biases against the
preservation of certain vertebrate taxa in the archeological re-
cord. These include taphonomic processes [particularly in humid
tropical settings (31)], and the general paucity of canid remains
relative to other prey and domestic animals in the fossil record.
In addition, the absence of archeological excavations in many
parts of the world biases our interpretation of domestication
history. The universal human propensity to bury dogs either on
their own or within human burials (32), however, has signicantly
enhanced the archeological visibility of dogs.
Finally, even when zooarcheologists can condently attribute
remains to Canis familiaris, dating can prove problematic. The
earliest dogs in North America were originally reported from the
Jaguar Cave site in Idaho with an associated date of 10,400 y cal
B.P. (33). Subsequent direct dating of the bones revealed that
two Jaguar Cave dogs are 3,500 and 1,000 y old (34).
An interesting pattern emerges when directly dated and con-
dently identied dog specimens (Table S3) are mapped onto
the historic distribution of wolves across the Old and New
Worlds (Fig. 2). First, remains 12,000 y or older are present in
numerous sites in Europe, the Levant, Iraq, Northern China, and
the Kamchatka peninsula in the Russian Far East. Dogs appear
in contexts older than 8,000 y everywhere else within the maxi-
mal distribution of wolves, suggesting independent domes-
tications of local populations of wolves, migration of humans
possessing dogs, or the secondary acquisition of dogs by groups
that were not involved in the domestication process.
Dogs appear south of the original wolf distribution in the Old
and New Worlds almost always with the arrival of agriculture.
For example, despite the fact that human remains are present in
much older contexts at Coxcatlan Cave in Mexico, dogs rst
appear only 5,200 B.P. alongside the appearance of agricultural
communities (35). The same is true in sub-Saharan Africa, where
dogs appear after the advent of the Sudanese Neolithic 5600
B.P. (36), in Peninsular Southeast Asia 4,200 B.P. (37), and in
Island Southeast Asia 3,500 B.P. (38). Dogs only arrived in
South Africa 1,400 y ago following the arrival of cows, sheep,
and goats a few hundred years before (39), and in southern South
America 1,000 y ago with the arrival of sedentary societies (40).
Fig. 2. A world map in which the approximate maximal range of gray wolves (Canis lupus) is shaded in gray (based on ref. 29). Green circles represent regions
where condently dated remains of domestic dogs have been described in at least one archeological site (Table S3). Circles are divided into eight segments,
each of which represents 1,500 y, visually depicting the age of the oldest remains at sites in the region over which the circle sits. Filled circles represent remains
older than 10,500 y. Each red dog represents a basal breed. The number under each dog refers to the breeds in Table 1; their locations are based upon their
suspected geographic origins, described in Table S1.
| Larson et al.
Biogeographical Perspective. Mapping the geographic location of
the 14 basal dog lineages onto the maximal wolf distribution and
the archeological data reveals several counterintuitive patterns.
First, although domestic dogs were present in numerous Euro-
pean archeological sites 15,000 y ago, and despite the fact that
textual references or depictions supercially suggest temporally
deep origins for 13 European breeds including the Pharaoh and
Ibizan Hounds (Table S1), only the Finnish Spitz retains a basal
signature. Second, although dogs reached Island Southeast Asia
3,500 y ago and southern Africa 1,400 y ago, the branches
leading to three breeds from these regions (Basenjis, New
Guinea Singing Dogs, and Dingoes) are located in basal posi-
tions on the tree (Fig. 1). This pattern confounds the expectation
that basal breeds should originate from the regions that possess
the oldest archeological dog remains, or at least the regions that
possess the deepest historical records of types recognizable in
modern breeds.
The two breeds closest to central Europe that retain basal
signatures (the Finnish Spitz and the Israeli Canaan Dog), are
both known to have been isolated from their European coun-
terparts. Efforts to create modern breed standards included
a policy of avoiding those individuals that had been bred with
foreign, recently introduced breeds (18). Most basal breeds have
hybridized with other lineages. If those breeds have either been
crossed with other basal breeds (e.g., the Shiba Inu) or if a few of
the least introgressed individuals are retained and bred [e.g., the
Finnish Spitz or the Dingo; though at least 80% of wild dingoes
have interbred with European breeds (41)], then a basal genetic
signal is retained.
As discussed above, many basal breeds have also experienced
severe bottlenecks that have exaggerated their unique genetic sig-
natures. The extant captive population of the New Guinea Singing
Dog is descended from only eight individuals (42), European
Afghans went extinct during the World Wars and were re-estab-
lished using just three imported dogs, and the modern European
Basenji stock was initiated with just a handful of individuals col-
lected in 1936 and supplemented with dogs acquired from central
Africa in 1988 (21). The combination of introgression and bottle-
necks suggests that basal breeds have little or no genetic con-
nections to their ancestral populations, and that genetic
distinctiveness alone cannot be used as a proxy to signify an ancient
The most predictive factor in determining whether a breed
retains a basal signature is a lack of gene ow, or at least a lack of
introgression with breeds that do not possess basal signatures.
Thus, the unifying characteristic among the 14 basal dog lineages
(Table 1) is geographic or cultural isolation from the primary
center of dog breeding in Europe that began in the 19th century.
If geography alone determined basal status, however, then the
Africanis, Chihuahua, Chinese Crested, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese,
Pug, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Shih Tzu, and Tibetan Terrier should
also be basal. In these cases, however, a signicant degree of in-
trogression with European breeds is recorded or strongly sus-
pected (Table S1). Although there is pictorial, written (43), and
zooarcheological (44) evidence for toy dogs spanning at least the
last 2,000 y, no toy breeds possess a basal signature, probably a
result of the ease with which they can be transported and in-
terbred with local dogs.
Populations of numerous taxa that live at isolated peripheries,
including the Falkland Islands Wolf (45), Homo oresiensis (46),
and woolly mammoths (47), often either outlived or appear
different from their continental relatives. Island populations of
dogs (both real and metaphorical) are more likely to retain their
genetic integrity not because related populations on the main-
land have gone extinct, however, but because peripheral pop-
ulations have avoided amalgamation into a larger group that, as
a consequence, has lost its genetic distinctiveness.
Though clear signs of the dog domestication process are visible
15,000 y ago, dogs were not present across every habitable
continent until they reached South Africa and southern South
America <1,400 y ago. The number of differentiated, isolated dog
populations has since been reduced through human movement and
trade that subsequently led to increased gene ow and population
homogenization, and through warfare, which often resulted in ex-
treme demographic uctuations (including extinction). Each time
a lineage that had been evolving in isolation came into contact with
introduced dogs, the resulting descendant admixture blurred the
genetic signature, making it more difcult to deduce their origins
before the assimilation.
This pattern is not unique to dogs. When human populations
transported domesticates into new regions, the most common
result has been an admixed population of introduced and local
varieties, many of which arrived during previous expansion epi-
sodes. Examples of this phenomenon include European domestic
grapes (48), Central American maize (49), and Western Eurasian
sheep (50).
Basal dog lineages fall outside the large, poorly supported clade
that includes most modern dog breeds (Fig. 1). This result is not
because they more closely approximate the earliest domestic
dogs, but because they have mostly avoided recent admixture with
other breeds that themselves possess a merged genetic heritage
from dogs that evolved in a wide variety of geographic regions. It
is far easier to avoid introgression by existing at the periphery,
beyond landscape and cultural barriers. This theory explains why
numerous basal lineages are from those regions where dogs only
recently arrived, outside the natural range of wolves, and why no
central European breeds retain an ancient signature despite the
15,000-y history of domestic dogs. The vast majority of modern
breeds were only created in the past 150 y, emerging from what
was a relatively homogeneous gene pool formed as a result of
millennia of human migration and the subsequent merging of
multiple, previously independently evolving dog lineages. This
history, along with the closed gene pools and small effective
population sizes associated with recent breed formation, also
explains the strongly supported genetic monophyly of individual
breeds and the lack of resolved relationships between them.
The shallow history of breed formation has eased the process of
correlating known breed-specic phenotypes with, in some cases,
their causal mutations (51). Unfortunately, our understanding of
dog origins has been hampered by our reliance on limited marker
sets that type a small portion of the 2.4 billion DNA bases that
make up the dog genome (2). Even in datasets that type numerous
individuals, methods that use mitochondrial sequences or even
tens of thousands of SNPs are only capable of recovering sig-
natures that have resulted from the effects of bottlenecks and
reticulate evolution that took place during 19th and 20th century
breed formation. As a result, our ability to investigate the deeper
history of dog domestication has been severely hampered.
The advent of rapid and inexpensive DNA sequencing tech-
nology has made it possible to signicantly increase the volume
and commensurate resolving power of genetic data, thus allow-
ing a greater time depth to be accessed. In humans, dense gen-
otyping (millions of SNPs) and complete genomes of both
ancient and modern individuals have revealed a far more com-
plex history (including inter- and intraspecies admixture) than
was previously available using sparser datasets (52). Comparable
genetic analyses of modern and ancient domestic dog genomes
and the resolving power they possess will soon yield equally
complex insights into their domestication and subsequent evo-
lution, thus revealing our deep, shared history with dogs.
Materials and Methods
Genetics. DNA was isolated from 1,375 domestic dogs (Table S1) and 19 wolves
(Table S4) and genotyped for 49,664 SNPs on the Affymetrix canine v2 arrays
using the snp5-geno-qc software package, with subsequent QC done using
PLINK (53). SNPs on chromosome X and SNPs with genotyping rates <95%,
were removed, yielding a dataset of 49,024 SNPs. Duplicate samples were
identied and merged based on genome-wide average identity-by-state
pairwise identity higher than 98%. Breed assignment was conrmed using
principal component analysis with smartpca (part of the EIGENSOFT software
Larson et al. PNAS Early Edition
package) (54). All dogs included in the analysis had genotyping rates >75%
(median of 98% in dogs and 96% in wolves).
To construct phylogenetic trees, pairwise identity-by-state genetic dis-
tances between samples were rst estimated across all SNPs that passed
quality lters using PLINK (53). The distances were then used to construct
a neighbor-joining tree using Phylip (55). The dataset was bootstrapped
1,000 times to obtain support values for each node.
Archeology. The survey of the archeological literature revealed numerous
reports of remains, the details of which (species designation, status de-
termination, and dating) the authors were condent. Many other claims
were contentious. We created two tables. The rst (Table S2) lists reports of
domestic dogs and the rationales for not including them in Table S3, which
lists all of the locations, sites, and elements used in Fig. 2. We applied a con-
servative approach when deciding whether or not to accept individual claims
for remains that were identied as domestic dogs. The specic criteria and
rationales are discussed in the SI Results and Discussion.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. We thank April McMahon, Alan de Quieroz, Matthew
Breen, Gary Johnson, and Hannes Lohi for comments on the manuscript.
G.L. is currently a Research Councils United Kingdom Academic Fellow and
was supported by a European Molecular Biology Organization postdoctoral
fellowship; K.L.-T. is a European Young Investigator award recipient funded
by the European Science Foundation, and was supported by grants from the
Swedish Research Council; and A.P. was supported by the British Association
for Japanese Studies.
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| Larson et al.
... Domestication has attracted Archeologists, paleontologists, anthropologists, environment scientists, botanist, zoologists and genetics [3] . As there are many unanswered questions about the domestication [4][5] . The varieties of domesticated animals existing on earth may have had more than one ancestor according to Darwin and had related the same to Dogs [5] . ...
... As there are many unanswered questions about the domestication [4][5] . The varieties of domesticated animals existing on earth may have had more than one ancestor according to Darwin and had related the same to Dogs [5] . Reasons behind vanishing of populations are habitat destruction and unsustainable exploitation. ...
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History of domestication is uncertain and dates back to thousands of years with human civilization. Nilgai Boselaphus tragocamelus is wild animal attacking human habitation with human's encroachment of its own habitat. As a result has been causing huge economic damage of the poorer farmers of the society. In the present study we have spotted possibilities of the domestication of the animal, correct implementation of the present study will bring niche theory in existence thus bringing Harmony in Nature.
... Although they descend from the same ancestor (the grey wolf; [1]), extant dogs are among the most variable species on the planet, both in terms of size and proportions [2]. This tremendous variability is the result of rapid phenotypic changes in response to strong intentional selection by humans over the last 200 years (defined herein as 'modern' times). ...
... However, the early phases of domestication are particularly complex to consider given the uncertainty surrounding the place and timing of domestication [10,[15][16][17] and the difficulty of distinguishing wolves from early dogs owing to the scarcity and the fragmented nature of these early canid remains [18]. The strong morphological similarity between early dogs and wolves [19][20][21], and possible hybridization between them [1,3] render this even more complex. ...
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Dogs are among the most variable species today, but little is known about the morphological variability in the early phases of their history. The Neolithic transition to farming may have resulted in an early morphological diversification as a result of changes in the anthropic environment or intentional selection on specific morphologies. Here, we describe the variability and modularity in mandible form by comparing 525 dog mandibles from European archaeological sites ranging from 8100 to 3000 cal. BC to a reference sample of modern dogs, wolves, and dingoes. We use three-dimensional geometric morphometrics to quantify the form of complete and fragmented mandibles. We demonstrate that an important morphological variability already existed before the Bronze Age in Europe, yet the largest, smallest, most brachycephalic or dolichocephalic extant dogs have no equivalent in the archaeological sample, resulting in a lower variation compared to modern relatives. The covariation between the anterior and posterior parts of the mandible is lower in archaeological dogs, suggesting a low degree of intentional human selection in early periods. The mandible of modern and ancient dogs differs in functionally important areas, possibly reflecting differences in diet, competition, or the implication of ancient dogs in hunting or defence.
... This chapter investigates the possibility that dogs and humans share similar reciprocal processes. Research suggests that the dog was the first domesticated animal (Larson et al. 2012) and has thus existed in human societies longer than any other animal. Nonetheless, while sayings such as "a dog is a man's best friend" imply that the human-dog relationship is very special, it is unclear whether dogs have begun to establish what is known as interactional reciprocity with humans. ...
... Furthermore, the average Shannon diversity index value was (0.60) ranging from 0.34 to 0.68. Here, the result was lower than that seen in , Ichikawa et al. (2001), Larson et al. (2012) and Atasoy et al. (2014) and similar to that recorde by Erdoğan et al. (2013) where is the average heterozygosity values for Akbash and Kangal are 0.367 and 0.410, respectively. ...
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Present study aimed to characterization Pishdar shepherd dogs which is a native breed specified in Kurdistan-Iraq. For this purpose the RAPD markers were used to study genetic diversity among nine geographical locations in Suliamani governorate. A total of 74 samples were typed using twenty RAPD primers. Moreover, fourteen out of the twenty primers had clear bands. A total of 709 bands were scored, of which 57 bands (51.48%) were polymorphic and 15 of polymorphic band were unique bands. For all regions, Nei's gene diversity, Shannon index, percentage of polymorphic loci and unique bands are in the range of 0.19 to 0.49, 0.34 to 0.68, 10 to 100, and 1 to 5, respectively. The UPGMA dendrograms showed three clusters, the 1 st cluster branch consisted of the Sitak and Halabja, the 2 nd cluster was include both of the Qala-Diza and Rania and the 3 rd one included constitutes four sub-clumps the 1 st branch consist of (Dokan and Suliamani) region, the 2 nd branch harbored the Huwana region only. The 3 rd one covers the Sangasar region. Finally, the 4 th sub-cluster possesses the Pishdar group. The results indicated that impressive logical result, showed low genetic distance between the Dokan and Suliamani population, in addition to small genetic distance between Qala-Diza and Rania, and moderate genetic distance between Sitak and Halabja. Which means there was no genetic variation in between these populations according to the near geographical distance between these areas. Thus, the inbreeding mating among these areas records high value. Meanwhile, the Huwana, Sangasar and Pishdar sub-clusters population documented a moderate genetic distance between them. Nevertheless, the high genetic distance that recorded (56.13%) among the region's population of Pishdar dog showed ample ground for mating within this breed in suliamani province.
... Owing to remarkable advances in technology, it has become possible to study the genetic relationships between domestic dog breeds to construct a genetic classification for them 25,26 . There appear to have been two population bottlenecks during the dog domestication process, one likely associated with their initial domestication from wolves to dogs and the other with the recent formation of modern dog breeds 3,27 . A neighbour-joining tree revealed several breeds with ancient origins that could be separated from the remaining breeds with modern European origins 3,25,26 . ...
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The dog ( Canis familiaris ) was the first domesticated animal and hundreds of breeds exist today. During domestication, dogs experienced strong selection for temperament, behaviour, and cognitive ability. However, the genetic basis of these abilities is not well-understood. We focused on ancient dog breeds to investigate breed-related differences in social cognitive abilities. In a problem-solving task, ancient breeds showed a lower tendency to look back at humans than other European breeds. In a two-way object choice task, they showed no differences in correct response rate or ability to read human communicative gestures. We examined gene polymorphisms in oxytocin, oxytocin receptor, melanocortin 2 receptor, and a Williams–Beuren syndrome-related gene (WBSCR17), as candidate genes of dog domestication. The single-nucleotide polymorphisms on melanocortin 2 receptor were related to both tasks, while other polymorphisms were associated with the unsolvable task. This indicates that glucocorticoid functions are involved in the cognitive skills acquired during dog domestication.
Differences in the behavior of the domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) and its progenitor species, the gray wolf (Canis lupus), are well recognized but the mechanisms of the wolf to dog transformation remain an area of scientific debate. A view of dog domestication that is centered on genetic selection for behavioral traits receives support from the famous Russian farm-fox experiment that began in the 1950s. Selection of foxes (Vulpes vulpes), separately, for tame and for aggressive behavior, has yielded two strains with markedly different, genetically determined, behavioral phenotypes. Tame-strain foxes communicate with humans in a positive manner and are eager to establish human contact. Conversely, foxes from the aggressive strain are aggressive to humans and difficult to handle. Although selected solely for behavior, changes in physiology, morphology, and appearance with significant parallels to characteristics of the domestic dog were observed in the selected strains. The genetic analysis of the fox populations identified several genomic regions that are homologous to the regions in the dog genome that differentiate dogs from wolves. Although the genetic regulation of domesticated behavior is far from being completely understood enormous progress has been made in this field. This chapter reviews studies of behavior and genetics in dogs and foxes and highlights the role of selection for behavior in ancient and modern dog formation.
The partnership between humans and domestic animals is natural. The human brain is hard-wired to emotionally respond to animals. Beginning with the domestication of wolves, this chapter covers the process of domestication and reviews the early work of behaviorists and ethologists who refused to accept emotional states in animals. Modern behavior research employs methods developed by behaviorists and ethologists combined with neuroscience and genetics. Emotional systems in the brain drive behavior. Confusion between different emotional systems may explain conflicting findings in the behavior literature. Behavior in an open-field test may be motivated either by fear, separation distress, or novelty seeking. Each emotion is controlled by separate subcorticol systems. A novel open-field arena can frighten a prey species, but it may activate seeking in a predator. Genetics affects the strength of fear, novelty seeking, and separation distress. Behavior is shaped by a complex interaction between genetics and experience.
ABSTRACT From the origin of the dog and its diffusion to the light of its mythology. Using phylogenetic tools, it is possible to reconstruct how myths about dogs spread around the world, as well as their probable point of origin. The tree built from mythological motifs associated with dogs takes root between Central and East Asia. It shows two diffusions of these motifs in America, the second only affecting the northern part of the continent. The mythological motifs seem to have followed the same diffusion routes as dogs, which corroborates the findings of genetics and archaeology. Furthermore, the phylogenetic approach makes it possible to identify the first mythological tales related to dogs: A man marries a female dog; 1/The dog is the master, the guard or the guide to the land of death or 2/Dogs live on the road leading to the land of death; The creatures have both human and canine characters, most often a man's body with a dog's head; Dogs or men with dog heads are married to human women and Sirius is associated with a dog or a wolf. These reconstructions, also associated with wolves in the area of origin considered, make it possible to explain various archaeological remains with a high degree of probability.
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Dogs were an important element in many native American cultures at the time Europeans arrived. Although previous ancient DNA studies revealed the existence of unique native American mitochondrial sequences, these have not been found in modern dogs, mainly purebred, studied so far. We identified many previously undescribed mitochondrial control region sequences in 400 dogs from rural and isolated areas as well as street dogs from across the Americas. However, sequences of native American origin proved to be exceedingly rare, and we estimate that the native population contributed only a minor fraction of the gene pool that constitutes the modern population. The high number of previously unidentified haplotypes in our sample suggests that a lot of unsampled genetic variation exists in non-breed dogs. Our results also suggest that the arrival of European colonists to the Americas may have led to an extensive replacement of the native American dog population by the dogs of the invaders.
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We present and discuss a full list of radiocarbon dates for woolly mammoth and other species of the Mammoth fauna available from Wrangel Island, northeast Siberia, Russia. Most of the radiocarbon dates are published here for the first time. Of the124 radiocarbon dates on mammoth bone, 106 fall between 3700 and 9000 yr ago. We believe these dates bracket the period of mammoth isolation on Wrangel Island and their ultimate extinction, which we attribute to natural causes. The absence of dates between 9–12 ka probably indicates a period when mammoths were absent from Wrangel Island. Long bone dimensions of Holocene mammoths from Wrangel Island indicate that these animals were comparable in size to those on the mainland; although they were not large animals, neither can they be classified as dwarfs. Occurrence of mammoth Holocene refugia on the mainland is suggested. Based on other species of the Mammoth fauna that have also been radiocarbon on Wrangel Island, including horse, bison, musk ox and woolly rhinoceros, it appears that the mammoth was the only species of that fauna that inhabited Wrangel Island in the mid-Holocene.
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Osteoarchaeology and genetics agree that the earliest dog domestications took place during the Upper Palaeolithic. However, they partially disagree about the process of domestication. The former indicated multiple origins, when some of the results of the latter suggested that dogs mainly came from a Chinese centre of domestication. In this study, we describe and discuss new evidence for Late Glacial small dogs in the South-West (Pont d’Ambon and Montespan) and North of France (Le Closeau). Special attention was paid to the possibility of miss-identification between small early dogs and dholes (Cuon alpinus), a middle-sized Canidae, the size of which can be similar to early small dogs. Detailed analyses of the archaeological contexts alongside that of taphonomy, morphoscopy, morphometry and pathology, identified 49 small canid remains from the three sites. They allowed us to exclude the presence of dholes and to conclude that they were all small Upper Paleolithic dogs. These, together with other more sparse discoveries, confirmed the presence of Western European Upper Paleolithic Small (WEUPS) dogs from, at least, the Middle Magdalenian to the end of the Epipaleolithic (i.e. 15,000–11,500 cal BP). As they are contemporaneous with the much larger Russian Upper Paleolithic dogs, they plea for several Euro-Asian origins for Late Palaeolithic dogs.
The main aim of this book is to provide a basis for a complete dog behavioural biology based on concepts derived from contemporary ethology. Thus, dog behaviour is viewed from both functional (evolution and ecology) and mechanistic and developmental points of view. The study of dogs is placed in a comparative context which involves comparison with their ancestors (wolves), as well as with humans with which dogs share their present environment. Instead of advocating a single theory which would explain the emergence of dogs during the last 20,000 years of human evolution, this book gives an overview of present knowledge which has been collected by scientists from various fields. It aims to find novel ways to increase our understanding of this complex evolutionary process by combining different methods originating from different scientific disciplines. This is facilitated by describing complementing knowledge provided by various field of science, including zooarchaeology, cognitive and comparative ethology, human-animal interaction, behaviour genetics, behavioural physiology and development, and behavioural ecology. This interdisciplinary approach to the study of dogs deepens our biological understanding of dog behaviour, but also utilizes this knowledge to reveal secrets to behavioural evolution in general, even with special reference to the human species.
PART I REVIEWS: 1. Dramatis personae 2. Ancestry 3. Population genetics 4. Society 5. Management 6. Infectious disease 7. Tools PART II CASE STUDIES 8. Arctic foxes 9. Island foxes 10. Swift foxes 11. Blanford's foxes 12. Red foxes 13. Raccoon dogs 14. Bat-eared foxes 15. Patagonian foxes 16. Jackals 17. Coyotes 18. Grey wolves - Isle Royale 19. Grey wolves - Yellowstone 20. Ethiopian wolves 21. Dholes 22. African wild dogs CONCLUSIONS 23. Conservation REFERENCES
Whether or not the wolf was domesticated during the early Upper Palaeolithic remains a controversial issue. We carried out detailed analyses of the skull material from the Gravettian Předmostí site, Czech Republic, to investigate the issue. Three complete skulls from Předmostí were identified as Palaeolithic dogs, characterized by short skull lengths, short snouts, and wide palates and braincases relative to wolves. One complete skull could be assigned to the group of Pleistocene wolves. Three other skulls could not be assigned to a reference group; these might be remains from hybrids or captive wolves. Modifications by humans of the skull and canine remains from the large canids of Předmostí indicate a specific relationship between humans and large canids.