Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Scientists have learned that the ancient Indians brought dogs from Siberia

Scientists have learned that the ancient Indians brought dogs from Siberia

By comparing the ancient and modern genomes, the researchers confirmed that the earliest American dogs were not descended from North American wolves, but likely originated in Siberia, crossing into the Americas during early human migrations. "Although this cancer's DNA has mutated over the years, it is still essentially the DNA of that original founder dog from many thousands of years ago".

It appears that native dog populations could have been wiped out through a number of causes, including disease, persecution and Europeans' desire to raise their own breeds.

Co-author and zooarchaeologist Professor Keith Dobney from the University of Liverpool, who co-directs the dog domestication project with Professor Larson added "This is yet another new and exciting finding from our combined genetic and archaeological research, which continues to challenge and illuminate our understanding of the history of the first and most iconic domestic animal". Because of the colonialists, came to the American continent, the ancient dog subsequently extinct. The genetic information gathered from the remains of 71 ancient dog fossils recovered from Siberia and America revealed that early American dogs had similarities with their Siberian counterparts and likely shared ancestors in common. North American dogs disappeared shortly after the arrival of the first Europeans.

But ancient dog genes do live on in a surprising place: tumors.

DNA analysis allowed the scientists to identify pre-contact dogs' closest relatives: a group of dogs native to Zhokhov Island, a frigid Arctic site situated about 300 miles north of the Russian mainland. This is further evidence of the strong bond between humans and dogs.


For the study, published in the journal Science on July 6, the researchers analyzed the nuclear DNA of these pre-contact dogs. What we uncovered were the last traces of ancient American dogs.

Savolainen, who is unaffiliated with the current study, notes that his and others' research has shown that certain breeds, such as the Carolina dogs, do seem to lack numerous genetic markers found in European-descended dogs.

Modern American dogs like Labradors and Chihuahuas are descended from Eurasian breeds introduced between the 15th and 20th centuries, said lead archaeologist Angela Perri from Durham University in England. Perri tells Wei-Haas that the scientists expected to find evidence of interbreeding between the pre-contact pups and the new arrivals.

"It is fascinating that a population of dogs that inhabited many parts of the Americas for thousands of years, and that was an integral part of so many Native American cultures, could have disappeared so rapidly", study coauthor Laurent Frantz of Queen Mary University and the University of Oxford says in a statement.

Canine transmissible venereal tumors (CTVT) is a type of contagious canine genital, cancer that can spread through mating. This disease arose in the dog population about 8,000 years ago, spreading from the earliest dogs and, over a long period of time, making its way to canine populations in every part of the world. Unfortunately, this, coupled with other reasons including the fact that America's new settlers must have killed native dog populations, as well as their disinterest in breeding the original American dog populations, meant that the original American dogs slowly vanished completely from the Americas.

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