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How did the dog go to Americas?Ancient bone fragments have clues

Studies conclude that the bone fragment found in southeastern Alaska belongs to a dog that lived about 10 or 150 years ago. Scientists say the remains, which are part of the femur, provide insight into when dogs and humans first invaded the Americas and what route they took to get there. I will. Credits: Douglas Levere / University at Buffalo

The history of dogs is intertwined with the history of domesticated humans.


But how far back in the Americas did the dog use to enter this part of the world?

A new study led by the University of Buffalo provides insights into these questions. Studies show that the bone fragments found in southeastern Alaska are from dogs that lived in the area about 10 or 150 years ago. Scientists say that the remains that are part of the femur represent the oldest remains of a domestic dog found in the Americas.

DNA from bone fragments holds clues about the history of early dogs in this part of the world.

Researchers analyzed the mitochondrial genome of dogs and concluded that the animals belong to a dog lineage that has an evolutionary history that is different from the evolutionary history of Siberian dogs as early as 16,700 years ago. It was. The timing of the division coincides with the time when humans may have migrated to North America along coastal routes, including Southeast Alaska.

The study will be published on February 24th Bulletin of the Royal Society B.. Charlotte Lindqvist, an evolutionary biologist at UB, was a senior author of a study that included scientists at UB and the University of South Dakota. The findings add to the increased knowledge of dog migration to the Americas.

How did the dog go to Americas?Ancient bone fragments have clues

A map showing the survey area. Credits: Bob Wilder / University at Buffalo

“Currently, there is genetic evidence from ancient dogs found along the Alaska coast. Because dogs represent the human profession, our data show not only when and where dogs and people enter the Americas, but also where. Our study also supports the theory that this move happened in the same way that coastal glaciers receded during the last glacial period, “said UB University of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Lindqvist, an associate professor at “There have been many waves of dogs migrating to the Americas, but when did the first dog arrive? We also followed the ice-free interior corridor between the huge ice beds that covered the North American continent. Is it their first migration along the coast? “

“The fossil records of ancient dogs in the Americas are incomplete, so the new relics found provide important clues,” says Dr. UB’s Flabio Augusto da Silva Coelho. He is a student of biological science and one of the first authors of the treatise. “Before our study, the earliest DNA-sequed ancient American dog bones were found in the Midwestern United States.”

Surprising discoveries from a large collection of bones

Lindqvist’s team did not undertake dog research. Scientists say the femur when researchers, including Dr. Timothy Heaton, a professor of earth sciences at the University of South Dakota, are sequencing DNA from a collection of hundreds of bones excavated in Southeast Alaska a few years ago. I came across a fragment of.

“It all started with our interest in how ice age climate change affected the survival and movement of animals in the region,” says Lindkvist. “Southeast Alaska may have acted as a sort of ice-free stop, and now, with our dogs, early human migration through the area is more than previously suspected. I think it’s much more important. “

The bone fragments, originally thought to come from bears, were very small, but after examining the DNA, the team found that they came from dogs, Lindkvist said.

How did the dog go to Americas?Ancient bone fragments have clues

Flabio Augusto da Silva Coello, a PhD student in biological sciences at the University of Buffalo, has an ancient dog bone fragment found in southeastern Alaska. Credits: Douglas Levere / University at Buffalo

After this surprising discovery, scientists compared the mitochondrial genome of bone with that of other ancient and modern dogs. This analysis showed that Southeast Alaskan dogs shared a common ancestor with American dogs who lived before the arrival of European colonists about 16,000 years ago, Lindqvist said. I will. (Since the mitochondrial DNA inherited from the mother represents a small part of the complete DNA of the organism, it may be possible to obtain more detailed information if the substance can be extracted by sequencing the complete nuclear genome. There is.)

Interestingly, carbon isotope analysis of bone fragments shows that ancient Southeastern Alaskan dogs ate marine foods that may have consisted of food such as fish and scraps of seals and whales. ..

This study adds depth to the hierarchical history of how dogs came to live in the Americas. As Lindqvist points out, the canines did not arrive all at once. For example, some Arctic dogs later arrived from East Asia with Toure culture, while Siberian Husky was imported into Alaska during the gold rush. Other dogs were brought to the Americas by European colonists.

The new study sharpens the debate about dog and human migration to the Americas.

“Our early dogs from southeastern Alaska were routed through the northwestern Pacific coast route rather than the Central Continent Corridor, where the first dog-human migration was believed to have been feasible about 13,000 years ago. I support the hypothesis that it happened, “said Coelho.


The first dog in the Americas arrived from Siberia and disappeared after contact with Europe


For more information:
Early dogs from southeastern Alaska support coastal routes for the first dog migration to the Americas. Bulletin of the Royal Society B, Rspb.royalsocietypublishing.or…. 1098 / rspb.2020.3103

Provided by Buffalo University

Quote: How did the dog go to Americas?Ancient bone fragments were obtained from https://phys.org/news/2021-02-dogs-americas-ancient-bone-fragment.html on February 23, 2021 (February 23, 2021). ) Is held

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How did the dog go to Americas?Ancient bone fragments have clues

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