Study of ancient dogs in the Americas yields insights into human, dog migration

A new suggests that may have first successfully migrated to the Americas only about 10,000 years ago, thousands of years after the first migrants crossed a land bridge from Siberia to North America.

The study looked at the genetic characteristics of 84 individual dogs from more than a dozen sites in North and South America, and is the largest analysis so far of dogs in the Americas. The findings appear in the Journal of Human Evolution.

Unlike their wild wolf predecessors, dogs learned to tolerate human company and generally benefited from the association: They gained access to new food sources, enjoyed the safety of human encampments and, eventually, traveled the world with their two-legged masters. Dogs also were pressed service as beasts of burden, and sometimes were served as food, particularly on special occasions.

Their 11,000- to 16,000-year association with humans makes dogs a promising subject for the study of human behavior, including migratory behavior, said University of Illinois graduate student Kelsey Witt, who led the new analysis with anthropology professor Ripan Malhi.

“Dogs are one of the earliest organisms to have migrated with humans to every continent, and I think that says a lot about the relationship dogs have had with humans,” Witt said. “They can be a powerful tool when you’re looking at how human populations have moved around over time.”

Human remains are not always available for study “because living populations who are very connected to their ancestors in some cases may be opposed to the destructive nature of genetic analysis,” Witt said. Analysis of remains is often permitted when analysis of human remains is not, she said.

Previous studies of dogs in the Americas focused on the dogs’ mitochondrial DNA, which is easier to obtain from remains than nuclear DNA and, unlike nuclear DNA, is inherited only from the mother. This means mitochondrial DNA offers researchers “an unbroken line of inheritance back to the past,” Witt said.

The new study also focused on mitochondrial DNA, but included a much larger sample of dogs than had been analyzed before. 

Molecular anthropologist Brian Kemp of Washington State University provided new DNA samples from ancient dog remains found in Colorado and British Columbia, and the Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS) provided 35 samples from a site in southern Illinois known as Janey B. Goode, near present-day St. Louis. The Janey B. Goode site is located near the ancient city Cahokia, the largest and first known metropolitan area in North America. Occupation of the Janey B. Goode site occurred between 1,400 and 1,000 years ago, the researchers said, while Cahokia was active from about 1,000 to 700 years ago.

Dozens of dogs were ceremonially buried at Janey B. Goode, suggesting that people there had a special reverence for dogs. While most of the dogs were buried individually, some were placed

… Continue reading here.
Dogs News — Sciencedaily

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    • kylezaking
    • January 8, 2015

    I came here to watch dogs annoy cats. I didn’t expect the nostalgia from
    the Conker’s Bad Fur Day music. 

    • Luis Gonzalez
    • January 8, 2015


    • John Doe
    • January 8, 2015

    Cats got the BJJ moves down!!

    • Lord Arceus
    • January 8, 2015

    Conker’s bad fur day 😀 

    • xiaochicash
    • January 8, 2015

    1:57 see that, what a well behaved cat. He / she gave him a correctional
    bite followed by a parental lick. Good kitty.

    • Tsukasa & Hikaru Futaba
    • January 8, 2015

    LUL YESH this can be me and +Melanie Bedoya 

    • CptJamesT
    • January 8, 2015

    As with any video which shows me a funny ‘screenshot’ on the link then
    doesn’t have it in the compilation THUMBS DOWN!. Its a shame too, it was
    really funny.

    • Allie S
    • January 8, 2015

    It wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of those cats had run away from their

    • DeadLadyKraken
    • January 8, 2015

    Dat spinning cat…

    • S. Roy
    • January 8, 2015

    It’s more like stupid dogs and annoyed cats :)

    • Elie Sombeck
    • January 8, 2015

    0:21 I thought the DOG was the CAT! I mean I know it’s a small dog but that
    cat seems larger than average.

    • IceHauk
    • January 8, 2015

    0:57 Dog: LEMME KISS U Cat: HALP

    • FuckYouGooglePlus
    • January 8, 2015

    WHY does everyone add annoying music to everything on YouTube?

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