Like Most Things In America Dogs Migrated From Overseas

first_img A new study suggests dogs were domesticated before migrating to the Americas.By analyzing DNA of ancient North American and Siberian pups, researchers were able to better understand the history of the continents’ first canine inhabitants.The oldest remains date back about 9,000 years—millenia after people began crossing a land bridge connecting present-day Siberia and Alaska; dogs would have moved with their human counterparts, spreading across North and South America.These animals—likely having originated in North Asia—persevered for thousands of years. Until contact with European colonists, at which point they all but vanished.“This suggests something catastrophic must have happened, and it’s likely associated with European colonization,” senior lead author Laurent Frantz, a lecturer at Queen Mary University and co-investigator at the University of Oxford.Unfortunately, there is not yet enough evidence to explain this sudden disappearance.Ancient dog burials like this one found at the Janey B. Goode site near Brooklyn, Ill., provided genetic material for a new study of dogs in the Americas (via Illinois State Archaeological Survey)This is the first comprehensive genomic study of its kind to analyze nuclear DNA (inherited from both parents) and mitochondrial DNA (passed down only from mothers).“Few modern dogs have any trace of these ancient lineages,” according to Kelsey Witt, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Merced, who led the mitochondrial DNA genome work as a graduate student at the University of Illinois.The team also discovered the genomic signature of a hereditary dog cancer, which could be one of the last “living” remnants of early canine genetic heritage.“This suggests that this tumor originated in or near the Americas,” Witt said.These findings, published by the journal Science, reinforce the idea that early man—and his best friend—faced many of the same challenges after European contact, U. of I. anthropology professor Ripan Malhi said.“It is known how Indigenous peoples of the Americas suffered from the genocidal practices of European colonists after contact,” Malhi, a co-author of the study, said in a statement. “What we found is that the dogs of Indigenous peoples experienced an even more devastating history and a near-total loss, possibly as a result of forced cultural changes and disease.”Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on target Geek Pick: Fi Smart Dog Collar Sniffs Out Your PetMan Saves Dog Left Tied to Electrical Cord on Side of Interstate Overpass last_img read more