December 13, 2006

Dogs aren't wolves

In a lengthy post, Darren Naish reviews various hypotheses of canine domestication and offers this conclusion:

If domestic dogs aren’t wolves, what are they?

All of this begs the question: if domestic dogs aren’t wolves, what are they? The answer seems to be that Canis familiaris is a distinct species with its own independent history. Prior to domestication, it presumably existed as a relatively small, generalized canid that voluntarily adopted the commensal pariah niche still occupied by many dog populations today. This is supported by the morphological and molecular distinctiveness of domestic dogs, by the anatomy and behaviour of primitive domestic dog breeds, and by the archaeological and fossil record.

If this is true, then the truly wild ancestors of modern domestic dogs are extinct.

Bibliography and lengthy comments too.

1 comment:

John Treby said...

This is so interesting to me as spend all my day with dogs as have a dog walking business in Sydney-Have also taken out a clients Dingo which is our wild dogs here-fascinating animal that had such great insight towards other dogs-loved humans but was not happy to be told what to do-found a very quite voice and eye contact a far better way to walk this dog-when I became happier with Fred I let it off the leash-a new dog appeared-full on freedom-looked into my eyes and smiled-it never left my side,when on the lead it was a nightmare-the owners never took the dog off the lead-We became instant friends-Unfortunately the owners moved to another state,but I will never forget the look in Fred's eyes when he was free from a leash-It looked like a wolf would say "You do not own my freedom" - John