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Old 02-24-2010, 09:13 PM
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Default Interesting article about origin of dogs

Here is a neat article about a study done on African village dogs, which suggests indigenous african breeds originated in Africa, from a separate population of canids than Euro or Asian dogs.

I do think it's funny they were surprised pharaoh hounds tested out as being a non african breed, since they are a recent recreation and not the same lineage as dogs in the egyptian tombs.

African Village Dogs Are Genetically Much More Diverse Than Modern Breeds

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ScienceDaily (Aug. 6, 2009) African village dogs are not a mixture of modern breeds but have directly descended from an ancestral pool of indigenous dogs, according to a Cornell-led genetic analysis of hundreds of semi-feral African village dogs.

That means that village dogs from most African regions are genetically distinct from non-native breeds and mixed-breed dogs. They also are more genetically diverse because they have not been subjected to strict breeding, which artificially selects genes and narrows breeds' gene pools.

The study, published online Aug. 3 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, sheds light on the poorly understood history of dog domestication. Future work may help explain the timing and locations of dog domestication and how dogs have adapted to the African environment, human settlements and dietary shifts.

"The genes of modern breeds all cluster together in one little group, but the African village dogs we sampled show much greater diversity genetically," said lead author Adam Boyko, a research associate in the lab of Carlos Bustamante, the paper's senior author and a professor of biological statistics and computational biology.

Field researchers from the University of California-Davis, who are part of the Cornell-based Village Dog Genetic Diversity Project, and others, including local veterinarians, sampled 318 village dogs from seven regions in Egypt, Uganda and Namibia.

They also looked at breed dogs, including those reputed to be from Africa, Puerto Rican dogs and mixed-breed dogs from the United States. Researchers and veterinarians also collected photos and information on weight, age, coat color and body measurements and sent blood samples for analysis to the Canine DNA Bank at the Baker Institute for Animal Health, part of Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine, which maintains a growing DNA archive of dogs worldwide.

Boyko, Bustamante and colleagues used a computer program to track genetic diversity in the samples. They found that the African village dogs are a mosaic of indigenous dogs descended from early migrants to Africa and non-native mixed-breed dogs. Such reputed African breeds as Pharaoh hounds and Rhodesian ridgebacks clustered with non-native dogs, suggesting they originated from outside of Africa.

A previous study of village dog genetics confirmed that domesticated dogs likely originated from Eurasian wolves some 15,000 to 40,000 years ago, and reported that East Asian village dogs had more genetic diversity than any others sampled for the study, suggesting that dogs were first domesticated in East Asia. But the African village dogs analyzed in this study revealed similar genetic diversity, which raises doubt on the claim that dogs were first domesticated in East Asia.

As the group continues to collect samples from worldwide locations, including the Americas, the researchers will explore where modern breeds originated and how much genetic diversity has been lost with the development of modern breeds.

The researchers are interested in working with dog owners and local veterinarians to get more DNA samples of dogs from remote corners of the world.

Co-authors included Heidi Parker and Elaine Ostrander, geneticists at the National Human Genome Research Institute; Rory Todhunter, a professor of clinical sciences in Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine; and Paul Jones, a genetics researcher at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition in the United Kingdom, among others.

The study was funded by Cornell's Center for Vertebrate Genomics, Department of Clinical Sciences and Baker Institute of Animal Health; the National Institutes of Health; and the National Science Foundation.
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Romy View Post

I do think it's funny they were surprised pharaoh hounds tested out as being a non african breed, since they are a recent recreation and not the same lineage as dogs in the egyptian tombs.
I always end up yelling at the TV during Westminster and Eukanuba because the announcers continue to claim that Ibizans and Pharaoh hounds are the dogs on the pyramids even though we've known for a handful of years now that they are modern breeds. Drives me crazy!

I doubt Ostrander was actually surprised about the results concerning the pharaoh hound because she was head of the team that showed the breed was modern, not ancient. Cool article. Thanks for posting it.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:05 PM
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Thanks for posting. This is of particular interest to me, as I've been looking into various theories of evolution and domestication of dogs for a while.

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I always end up yelling at the TV during Westminster and Eukanuba because the announcers continue to claim that Ibizans and Pharaoh hounds are the dogs on the pyramids even though we've known for a handful of years now that they are modern breeds. Drives me crazy!

I doubt Ostrander was actually surprised about the results concerning the pharaoh hound because she was head of the team that showed the breed was modern, not ancient. Cool article. Thanks for posting it.
Exactly. Those announcers drive me batty. They say all kinds of misleading things during the show. Besides that, they do so much anthropomorphizing that they just sound dumb.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:20 PM
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How about Chihuahuas? Are they actually indigenous to South America, which might indicate yet a third point of domestication?
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Old 02-24-2010, 11:04 PM
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How about Chihuahuas? Are they actually indigenous to South America, which might indicate yet a third point of domestication?
The article says they are DNA mapping American dogs right now, so I'm really curious to see what they come up with for chis. Xolos too. There is a body of archaeological evidence for trade with Asia in pre columbian times, so I wouldn't be surprised if they shared some heritage with the Asian dogs. Personally I think it's fascinating that the three big landrace wild/feral dog types are dingos, caanan dogs, and carolina dogs. And they all look identical.
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Old 02-24-2010, 11:15 PM
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I think somebody once did a study of Indian pariah dogs. Seems that after X generations* of catch-as-catch-can breeding, all the dogs looked pretty much the same: in the 30 lb. range, pointed muzzle, curled tail, short brown fur.

*And not that many generations, either, as far as I can remember. Seems to be an ur-dog template!
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Old 02-24-2010, 11:48 PM
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I think somebody once did a study of Indian pariah dogs. Seems that after X generations* of catch-as-catch-can breeding, all the dogs looked pretty much the same: in the 30 lb. range, pointed muzzle, curled tail, short brown fur.

*And not that many generations, either, as far as I can remember. Seems to be an ur-dog template!
That's one of the main reasons I do not believe dogs are descended from wolves. If they were, they should all start reverting to wolfy beasts after a few generations. Instead they revert like you describe. There is probably some extinct wild canid that looked like our feral dogs.
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Old 02-25-2010, 12:17 AM
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That's really interesting, thanks for posting!

I agree about the reversions; we have the term "brown dog breed" to describe those that are so mixed, there's no telling WHAT went into them. And they do all end up looking quite alike. We're fairly sure that Vegas is one of those "so mixed she's a throwback" dog.
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Old 02-25-2010, 01:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Romy View Post
That's one of the main reasons I do not believe dogs are descended from wolves. If they were, they should all start reverting to wolfy beasts after a few generations. Instead they revert like you describe. There is probably some extinct wild canid that looked like our feral dogs.

This has been my contention for some time, but anytime I suggest that dogs may well not be directly descended from wolves at all, but from a smaller dog-like animal, everyone thinks I'm crazy. I always thought this too, was interesting food for thought.... albeit an unpopular theory among the dogs are wolves crowd. lol.

Darren Naish: Tetrapod Zoology: Controversial origins of the domestic dog
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:10 AM
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I'm confused. Does the article say Rhodesian Ridgebacks are not from Africa?

It's too early for reading...
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