Of Rabbits and Men: Using Ancient DNA and GMM to Investigate Rabbit Domestication


This is an abstract from the "Questioning the Fundamentals of Plant and Animal Domestication" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Rabbits are one of the most recently domesticated animals, and yet, over thousands of years, they have lived in a diverse range of relationships with people. This close interaction is recorded in archaeological and historical records and reflected today in the diversity of breeds worldwide. Whilst extensive research has been done to understand the differences between wild and domestic rabbits, little is known about the incipient stages of rabbit domestication, and the question of where and when this process began has not been satisfactorily resolved. Recent findings have begun to challenge our previous knowledge about the origin of domestic rabbits and emphasise the relevance of combining both modern and ancient data. Moreover, multidisciplinary approaches involving both genetics and zooarchaeology have proven successful in clarifying the domestication of many species, and show strong promise in their application to rabbits. This project aims to address the question of rabbit domestication by samples covering a wide chronological period. By generating ancient and modern DNA sequencing data we can recover demographic and selection signals associated with domestication. These results can then be combined with GMM analyses to investigate concomitant morphological changes across time, and hopefully, provide novel insights into the domestication of this species.

Cite this Record

Of Rabbits and Men: Using Ancient DNA and GMM to Investigate Rabbit Domestication. Joel Alves, Carly Ameen, Tom Fowler, Naomi Sykes, Greger Larson. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451493)


ancient DNA

Geographic Keywords

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25473