European Dogs Devastated Indigenous American Pup Populations
European Dogs Devastated Indigenous American Pup Populations
Original North American dog population wiped out in recent history
09 July, 2018, 15:26
"Although this cancer's DNA has mutated over the years, it is still essentially the DNA of that original founderdog from many thousands of years ago". Today, that singular genome has all but disappeared, eradicated by the 15th-century arrival of European settlers and their canine companions. This breed, referred to in the study as the pre-contact dogs, would have been entirely wiped out if not for a gene that survived not as a dog but a canine tumor that has now spread worldwide.
"This study demonstrates that the history of humans is mirrored in our domestic animals", said Greger Larson, the study's senior author.
"It is known how Indigenous peoples of the Americas suffered from the genocidal practices of European colonists after contact", author Ripan Malhi, an anthropology professor at the University of IL, explains.
Confirming earlier work, the researchers found these ancient American dogs have very little in common with modern dogs today, genetically speaking. These samples were from 9,000 years ago.
Ancient dogs arrived in the Americas alongside humans more than 10,000 years ago, but were later wiped out by European colonization, a new study suggests. He noted that we had only sequenced the nuclear DNA of three other ancient dogs until now.
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.
The evolutionary journey of how dogs came to occupy millions of human living rooms is a complicated one, filled with detours and false starts.
The team collected genetic information from 71 ancient dog remains from the Americas and found that early dogs arrived alongside people who eventually settled throughout North, Central and South America. But its DNA contains no trace of ancient dog DNA.
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. Due to their isolation, the immune systems of pre-contact dogs may have been unprepared for the arrival of new pathogens. Finally, Europeans were probably being careful not to interbreed what they thought of as "prized" European dogs with "mongrel native" ones, she said. These ancient American dogs lived for about 10,000 years until they were nearly wiped out by the European breeds that, on the other hand, tagged along with their European humans as they colonized the continent.
Using genetic information from 71 archaeological dog remains from North America and Siberia, an global team led by researchers at the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Queen Mary University of London, and Durham University showed that "native" (or "pre-contact") American dogs, which arrived alongside people over 10,000 years ago and dispersed throughout North and South America, possessed genetic signatures unlike dogs found anywhere else in the world.
Impressively, the cancer still has the primogenitor's genes, which researchers discovered likely originated from Asia and then got to America through the first dogs that migrated a couple of millennia ago.
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