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New article on the domestication of dogs.

Tommy Coyote

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Old Dogs Teach a New Lesson About Canine Origins

This analysis was published in Science on the research published in Science


I found this result interesting.


The analysis yielded two surprises. First, most living dogs turned out to be more closely related to ancient wolves than to modern ones. "The [gray wolf] population that gave rise to modern dogs is most likely extinct," Thalmann says. The finding supports the results of a whole-genomes study, reported in May at The Biology of Genomes meeting in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, in which Wayne's team also concluded that modern wolves are not dogs' direct ancestors.



I suspect that domestication occurred in all major locations where anchent hunter/gatherer humans lived.



Larson cautioned that the paper is not the final word on canine origins. “It would be a mistake to jump and say that dogs were domesticated in Europe and not anywhere else,” he said. “We know pigs were domesticated independently in China and Turkey, so there’s no thinking that dog domestication had to happen in just one place.”


Origin of Domestic Dogs




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When I was still doing archeology in Utah the big site that was being excavated was Hogup Cave. It was a prepueblo site of the Fremont Indians that lived there from about 700 to 1300 AD. I spent hours and hours processing horrible smelling artifacts that came out of that cave and I did a lot of the photography on the arifacts that came into the lab.


But I couldn't remember one thing about the Fremonts having dogs. So I looked up the Fremonts after reading this article and sure enough. Some of the pictographs found on the rocks were of dogs. Although these Indians probably ate them at least part of the time. They had a hell of a time just surviving as they had been pushed out into a really inhospitable environment. They lived in a barren wasteland. And a lot of the time they got just enough calories from eating pickleweed and rodents to make it to the next day. So they probably had to eat the dogs.


Dogs played an important role in Indian life. They were guards which gave warning in an area where attacks from other Indian tribes were often a huge problem. They ate garbage which kept disease down. They helped in the hunts. They pulled sleds when the tribes were on the move.


It was a win win. Still is.

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