Divergence of Domestic Dog Morphology through Deep Time


The modern domestic dog is behaviourally and morphologically far removed from its ancient counterpart. Increasingly, research has demonstrated that using modern comparative collections for identifying domestic animals in archaeological contexts is problematic. This is likely the result of the intensive breeding that modern animals have undergone in at least the last two centuries. It is unclear how far back the current modern morphology of dogs goes, or how different ancient dogs were from their modern descendants. Here we present the results of analyses examining the differences between archaeologically identified dogs with modern domestic dogs, modern wolves and Pleistocene wolves to see how these groups have morphologically diverged. To do this we will examine the morphologies of both the mandible and the first mandibular molar and compare the through-time shape change of archaeological dogs to the baseline of shape variation of each of the reference groups. The results of these analyses will go far beyond the simple identification of wild and domestic animals, as they will shed light on the changes brought about to one of the most important human-animal relationships across deep time.

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Divergence of Domestic Dog Morphology through Deep Time. Keith Dobney, Ardern Hulme-Beaman, Carly Ameen, Allowen Evin, Thomas Cucchi. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444501)

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Abstract Id(s): 20871