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Methods for the identification of dog and dog/wolf hybrids from wild canids in the Northern Plains

Author(s): Abigail Fisher

Year: 2017

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In Native North America, dogs (Canis familiaris) were an important resource, used for traction, food, security, and ritual. Given their ubiquity in settlements and their tendency to consume human food waste, dogs remains can provide significant information about past human diet. Stable carbon isotope (δ13C) ratios may be used to reconstruct maize consumption, while nitrogen (δ15N) isotope ratios increase by trophic level, and can be used to differentiate between marine, freshwater, and terrestrial inputs. Studies comparing human and dog δ13C and δ15N indicate general uniformity, showing that domestic dogs may be used as proxies for human diet, specifically when addressing maize production. Yet the archaeological identification of dogs is complicated by their hybridization with wild wolves (Canis lupus). Furthermore, in the northern Plains, both wild and domestic canids were used for different purposes by people. By combining qualitative and quantitative zooarchaeological analyses, geometric morphometrics, and molecular analyses, this research presents a method for using two independent lines of evidence for the differentiation of wild and domestic/semi-domestic canids at agricultural sites along the Middle Missouri in North Dakota.

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Methods for the identification of dog and dog/wolf hybrids from wild canids in the Northern Plains. Abigail Fisher. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430466)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -113.95; min lat: 30.751 ; max long: -97.163; max lat: 48.865 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14885

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America