May 15, 2012

Did dogs contribute decisively to our success vs. Neanderthals?

UP dog with mammoth bone from Predmosti
That's the theory proposed, with some archaeological support, by Pat Shipman at American Scientist (found via Pileta). Not only dog skulls have been found in what appear to be farewell rituals (with a bone between the teeth for example) but these findings always correspond to cultural contexts associated with our kin, such as Aurignacian and never with Neanderthals. 

Being allied with dogs certainly offered some key advantages when hunting, argues Shipman, very specially when finding the prey, a skill for which we are not too well prepared, lacking a fine sense of smell, something demonstrated in modern hunt contexts. 

Domesticating dogs clearly improves humans’ hunting success and efficiency—whether the game (or the dog) is large or small. The same must have been true in the Paleolithic. If Neandertals did not have domestic dogs and anatomically modern humans did, these hunting companions could have made all the difference in the modern human–Neandertal competition. 

A miscellaneous matter that Shipman considers at the end of the essay is whether the well known ability of communicating silently by looking at each others' eyes may have helped to this human-dog cooperation. Apparently dogs are also able to follow the direction of the eyes of a human and infer commands or directions from that. This may have been a product of selective breeding but in any case it is something that it's there and is part of human-dog communication.

See also category: dog in this blog and its predecessor.


Update (May 19): Millán mentions in the comments section that there are some studies from a century ago that claim that Neanderthals might have domesticated dogs first:
It is not clear however if these claims can withstand the passing of time, they are after all from the time of Pitdown Man, when Archaeology was still a bit confused and confusing - but also when the pillars of modern Prehistoric understanding were first laid.

70 comments:

  1. Not only do I agree with this, but I have suggested this advantage of AMHs numerous time (and yes, I know, Maju - a blog is not a very valid place to make such suggestions and then later refer to them).

    http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2012/01/paleolithic-siberian-domestic-dog.html

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    1. I have also toyed with the idea now and then: when it was claimed in November that the dog was probably domesticated first in SE Asia, I speculated that maybe the symbiosis with this noble beast helped not just H. sapiens vs. Neanderthals but also some H. sapiens vs. other H. sapiens, specifically the "ethnicity" associated with Y-DNA MNOPS and mtDNA R, whose success is notable in West Eurasia (former Neanderthal Lands) but also in other regions.

      Wow, that's a long sentence without stops!

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  2. I have often thought this, too. Not only are dogs useful for hunting and protection, they can keep someone warm at night, and are a last-option food source that carries itself.

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  3. Perhaps in Neanderthal territory, but Australia provides a pretty compelling argument that modern humans had significant advantages over archaic humans and were effective predators pre-dog.

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  4. "Not only are dogs useful for hunting and protection, they can keep someone warm at night"

    Hence the expression, 'three dog night', a really cold one where you need three dogs to keep you warm.

    "but Australia provides a pretty compelling argument that modern humans had significant advantages over archaic humans and were effective predators pre-dog".

    Valid for any advantage they may have had before reaching Australia but in the continent there were no other human types to compete with.

    "A miscellaneous matter that Shipman considers at the end of the essay is whether the well known ability of communicating silently by looking at each others' eyes may have helped to this human-dog cooperation. Apparently dogs are also able to follow the direction of the eyes of a human and infer commands or directions from that".

    Coming from a family of dairy farmers I have seen that sort of communication often.

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    1. "in the continent there were no other human types to compete with."

      I think it is very likely that there were some Homo Erectus derived humans in the region when they arrived that are the source of Denisovian admixture. The archaeology is thin, but does not contradict that inference.

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    2. @Andrew: in Australia? No. There is absolutely zero evidence of any pre-Sapiens human presence in Australia. "The archaeology" is not thin... not even graphite-like thin... it's zero!

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    3. I thought that "the continent" referred in the quote was Asia, not Australia. I agree completely that there is no evidence for archaic hominins in Australia itself.

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  5. While dogs domestication in UP is a fascinating theme, i see 2 major problems with this particular idea: (1) a chronological problem (eurasian domesticated INCIPIENT dogs seem fairly more recent than AMH expasion in western Europe);
    (2)A problem about "lack-of-deep" about domestication. Domestication, specifically wolf-->dog domestication, does NOT automatically equals "working animals".
    If the "wolf scavenger-follower, then camp-based guardian/company wolf-dog" model is taken in account, there might be a completely different tale to tell.
    And, from another point of view, what i guess here is something like:
    - "Ey! let push the Neanders in the hypotesis, whatever it costs!
    - But the h... Why?
    - Well, it just will be MUCH cooler than just talking about domestication".

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    1. As I've said in a previous comment, Millán, my impression is that the advantage was not only vs. Neanderthals but vs. other populations of our species. IMO there was a population (identified with Y-DNA MNOPS and mtDNA R essentially) that expanded rather dramatically as a second layer (fold) over the first layer of human expansion in Eurasia and a key element of this overpowering may have been dogs.

      "Domestication, specifically wolf-->dog domestication, does NOT automatically equals "working animals"".

      What do you mean by this? Wolves (or more exactly wild tropical dogs closely related to gray wolves) are already experts in hunting and hierarchical social life. And those are exactly the attributes you want from a dog in a hunter-gathering life and economy. You don't need a shepherd dog, you don't need a drug detector, you don't need a disability helper dog: you need a team hunter that obeys and respects you - and that is already in the wolf's genetic package, you just need to have them tamed for instance by feeding them as puppies.

      "a chronological problem (eurasian domesticated INCIPIENT dogs seem fairly more recent than AMH expasion in western Europe"

      Considering that there are no known human burials in all that time, finding dog burials is certainly notable. Of course there is a blank of evidence but one that must be considered contextually. And dogs appear in Aurignacoid contexts in Europe and Altai, suggesting that the practice of having domestic dogs was quite widespread among the wider "Aurignacoid ethnos" that is also directly related to the receding and eventual extinction of Neanderthals.

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  6. >>And those are exactly the attributes you want from a dog in a hunter-gathering life and economy

    Well... you still think of historical changes in H-G groups as a pure utilitary issue, and I dont think it goes this way. Most times, the historical shit just happens, no win-lose balance is foreseen by people, they just change for diferent reasons (more likely social or socioeconomic, internal reasons related to tensions, inequities, unbalances, etc), 99% of the times they are not even aware that they are changing.
    On the other hand, is not me who says that wolf domestication might probably be a process completely unrelated to "dog as a work animal". It's one of the 2 main competing hypotesis to explain dog's domestication. Just search about it, i know you'll do it anyway :)

    >>finding dog burials is certainly notable
    Yep, but it is not about dog burials but dog remains, which is sightly different. Aurignacoid, on the other hand as you know means nothig to me. An discipline construct if anything.
    From my point of view: the fact that those 30.000 uncal bp dogs are incipient dogs, combined with the fact that physical manifestation of domestic traits can be a fairly fast process (as seen in the neolithic), makes (for me) quite unlikely the neander-dog-AMH "hypotesis".

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    1. Not sure what you mean Millán. I don't think people domesticated dogs for something (at least not necessarily) but that they domesticated dogs and, incidentally, gained something. Dogs can be extremely productive allies but the trigger reasons for the domestication may have been purely emotional, irrational and impractical: "awww, puppy!", you know.

      "dog as a work animal"

      I have no idea what you mean by that sentence: in pre-Neolithic or even pre-civilized societies the concept of "work" is very limited. You seem to see dogs as factors in an industrial production chain or something, when the people in symbiosis with them surely saw them as members of the party almost in parity with humans. Each member pulled their weight, of course, in a communist way: each one according to their possibilities and to each one according to their needs. Dogs and humans alike.

      "Aurignacoid, on the other hand as you know means nothig to me".

      Denial is not helpful in providing for plausible explanations. Aurignacoid is a term that describes technologies that are similar and appear to derive from the same trunk, probably in West Asia or even maybe South Asia, and that extend through all West Eurasia in its widest concept (i.e. with Central Asia and at least parts of North Africa) in an specific chronological frame which overlaps with the disappearance of Neanderthals everywhere in that same continental region.

      I see it therefore as a single general process of expansion of Homo sapiens with mode 4 (blades, UP) technology expressed mostly in a way that seems different from that of Neanderthals in the same period (Szeletian-Chatelperronian-Uluzzian complex).

      "those 30.000 uncal bp dogs"

      Older than that.

      "are incipient dogs"

      Compare with a German shepherd... or are you expecting to see Chihuahuas and Poodles so early in time? We are talking of the first known dogs ever!

      I have already in the past told you that I often feel like you do the following psychological self-deception trick: by denying every possible explanation for the demise of Neanderthals you appear to be hoping to keep them alive, what is denial of reality.

      So at the very least (if you were not just in denial) you should propose an alternative model for the extinction of Neanderthals, but you do not.

      The factual reality is that Neanderthals actually went extinct and we, our direct ancestors, were surely partially responsible of that extinction.

      And that needs one or several explanations, tentative or otherwise. Denying them just because, without even offering alternative hypothesis to contrast with, is not helpful.

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  7. Regarding the date for dog domestication, the last time I checked into this, they hadn't been able to set a date for dog domestication. Certainly, the Aurignacian is within the range for incipient dog domestication.

    I agree with the above advantages of dogs, such as tracking (due to their superior sense of smell), pointing (an advantage for hunting), their ability to interpret facial queues, and for warmth.

    Early Americans and the Inuit used dogs for pulling. I don't know when that was implemented, but certainly by the LGM.

    Some dog breeds such as the Border Collie are known to be able to learn a large set of words (up to 200). So the ability of some dogs to follow commands certainly eventually played out in their use.

    Dogs also clean up scraps. "Three dog night" is not the only funny expression that applies to dogs. I love the expression "A dog's breakfast", which refers to an unsuccessful attempt at making dinner, or more broadly, a big mess. Both the Aurignacians and the Neanderthals ate a lot of meat. The scraps would have attracted wild animals, just as today, bears become a threat if you don't secure your garbage.
    Having a clean up crew of dogs around would have been an advantage.

    Finally, don't forget that dogs have a superior sense of hearing. Dogs were used for warning. Today, that is how the Maasai use them. They do not use them to hunt. They do not use them as pets or for warmth. They do not use them to herd. They use them to warn of lions and leopards:

    http://www.theotherendoftheleash.com/dogs-in-africa

    Responding to the post that Australian Aboriginals did not keep dogs, I will say that I don't know if this is true. However, Australia is one of the few places in the world where there were few large mammal predators. Apart from humans, the only large animals on land in Australia prior to European contact were marsupials and reptiles. Therefore, Australian Aboriginals did not need a warning animal.

    Even though dogs came to fulfill many functions, I would guess that there ability to warn of oncoming predators and their happy dispositon as a clean up crew would have been the initial impetus that brought humans and dogs together.

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    1. I agree that dogs in a hunter-gatherer (or even any non-urban) context are all advantages. But I still think that their key advantages are hunting aid and defense (early warning system that can also fight fiercely).

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  8. I finally got around to reading the original posted article.

    Shipman does make the case for dogs adapting as a pack animal during the Aurignacian.

    Until I read the article, I couldn't understand how dogs functioned to assist the hunt. There does seem to be quite a lot of evidence that dogs functioned to reduce the time to locate game, as well as to keep prey at bay.

    The eye thing is interesting, especially because it looks like only dogs, and not wolves, chimps or gorillas can track the gaze of a human.

    Really interesting, comprehensive article on the latest research in dog domestication. Thanks for posting it.

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  9. "The scraps would have attracted wild animals, just as today, bears become a threat if you don't secure your garbage.
    Having a clean up crew of dogs around would have been an advantage".

    I would think that is the original reason dogs were attracted to humans. Domestication happened as a consequence of that. Humans did not set out to domesticate dogs. It was mutual benefit.

    "Responding to the post that Australian Aboriginals did not keep dogs, I will say that I don't know if this is true".

    What we do know is that Aboriginals were in Australia long before dogs arrived. The earliest evidence for dingos is around 6000 years ago.

    "Apart from humans, the only large animals on land in Australia prior to European contact were marsupials and reptiles. Therefore, Australian Aboriginals did not need a warning animal".

    There were some quite nasty predators when Aborigines first arrived: land crocodiles and large predatory birds. But the Aborigines didn't have dogs at that time anyway.

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    1. OK.

      For some reason, dogs didn't make it to Australia until 6000 years ago. But from reading the article, I'm pretty sure that they were used as hunting and mush dogs during the Aurignacian.

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    2. What about Papua, Terry? My hypothesis of dogs (domestic wolves) spreading with the (y)MNOPS-(mt)R people does not require dogs in Australia at all but would suggest that they could have reached New Guinea, where these haploid lineages of the "second Eurasian expansion" did arrive in big numbers.

      I can only imagine that we have no evidence, right?

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  10. >>And that needs one or several explanations, tentative or otherwise. Denying them just because, without even offering alternative hypothesis to contrast with, is not helpful.

    That idea and the phrases just before it, they are quite rethoric. Only thing i say: your assumptions about my ideas on neandertal's population demise are completely wrong. I just deny the "hypotesis" that are not based on any evidence, but in a desire to find something "Cool enough"...

    Anyway, it is (and it will be, i foresee) increasingly obvious that:

    1 From a serious scientific/research point of view, we dont need MORE sci-fi, speculative, non-based-on-evidence, hypotesis.... because we have dozens, many be hundreds of them, and they just pile in the floor and disturb the movement of the more serious, better, more realistic, archaeologically based... the f...real stuff... HYPOTESIS!

    2 a sector of well, we will accept the term "archaeology/science about neanders" by now, it seems to be moving into a factory of "prepacked bits made just for news". That kind of strategy is obviously bad for their "science", but is also bad for the whole field of research, because it messes around, de-focusing better researchs.

    3 Those models they really stink and they're not working properly... Actually, they are not working at all, because in no time they just disappear and are never heard of again.
    When the next wave of happy inventions comes out of the minds of the very SAME GUYS that made the ones before, the old ones just "fluff" into the air (well, those older hypotesis had no base, so is reasonable, they just "fluff"...)
    If only, from time to time, one of those sci-fi, non-reasonable hypotesis is resurrected, but not from the last iteration of former research, but started from zero again (well, the older one was rubbish you know... it actually was indeed!)
    I find those guys tactics are quite a feat of self-deception, if you think of it.

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    1. 1. How is this hypothesis sci-fi or speculative or lacking evidence? Evidence of domestication of dogs in the Aurignacian (or maybe a bit earlier?) period is piling up, so this explanation is almost automatic. Not only Pat Shipman arrived to this conclusion but also Eurologist and myself, each by his/her own different thought-path. The evidence just leads the open mind to that "speculation" naturally.

      Of course, would have been a Neanderthal bone instead of a mammoth one, then the evidence would have been even more unmistakable... but I imagine that you would still argue against it.

      2. I generally agree with your criticism of media-hyped science new but I also feel that this criticism can become an unhelpful shell against every idea, good or bad, that reaches the media. It is not in any case evidence against anything, much less in this case, where we are before a well pondered article which deals more about the benefits of dog domestication and its archaeological evidence than about Neanderthals (who nevertheless fit too well in the wrong end of it anyhow).

      3. "... because in no time they just disappear and are never heard of again".

      What I do not hear are your models. I do collect all the proposed models that make any sense in my mind (see my other reply to you for a short list) and I keep considering them plausible, not as isolated explanations but as constituents of a wider whole, a wider whole of some 20,000 of slow but steady H. sapiens expansion at the expense of Neanderthals.

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  11. Just to clarify, there are a LOT (dozens, prob. hundreds) of researchers whose work i think is really worth it. I mean, people that is rowing in the right direction (evidence based, scientifical, empirical & positive, reasonable & realistic, and technically & medotodogically capable) while working in different views of late neandertals historical changes, neandertal population retractions and final demise, and on the MP->UP & MSA->LSA issues.
    To name a few (from different places, fields and generations): G. Glark, L. G. Strauss, J. Riel-Salvatore, S. Gaudzinski, M. Soressi, H.Plisson, L. Bourguignon, F. d'Errico, I. Oretega, S. Costamagno, M. Patou-Mathis, J. Rios Garaizar, A. Gómez Olivencia, M. Vaquero, J. González Urquijo, M- Domínguez-Rodrigo, C. Finlayson, B. Hayden, J. Baena, C. Díez, M. Navazo, O. Joris, S. Grimaldi, L. Freeman, J. Vallverdú, P. Pettit, E. Carrión, J. Maroto, etc, etc, etc.

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    1. Millan,

      Did you read the article or not?

      What specific points in the article do you disagree with?

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    2. But all those authors surely agree that Neanderthal populations shrank and eventually collapsed while other (H. sapiens) ones took their econiches (replaced them).

      So in the end we have a process of replacement, surely not instantaneous nor homogeneous, but spread through some 20,000 years overall, that asks for explanations. These explanations that can be of biological nature like bacterian shock or inbreeding, or my personal favorite, the one about the short legs and greater caloric needs of Neanderthals, which made them less mobile in the long run (and hence more exposed to all kind of punctual threats). Or they can be of techno-cultural nature, like the apparent improved (more extensive) use of the territory by our long-legged species, or the hurling specialization or the use of dogs or... Or it can be a complex combo of all them.

      But what they can't be is no explanation and instead a sterile wall of names (not even links!) That's scholastic, obscurantist and unhelpful.

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    3. Ahem...
      Just trying to point something that you should already have noticed: The essay is the work of what we call a "parachute" or "paratrooper" , meaning that the author is trying to solve a issue about wich she only knows an unidimensional section of the already existing knowledge.
      It may look good when you have only a broad idea about the question, and you're only interested in "perogrullo"-style (un) explanations.
      But i dont believe that is the way of doing good science. Im sorry, but that is what i think.

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  12. Agree with Maju that dogs might have been initially raised by humans for entirely impractical reasons, such as children adopting puppies for fun. However it is amazing how social animals will strive to fit into a group, even among other species.

    An amazing youtube video was a recent sensation, Champis, the Swedish sheep herding rabbit. This farm raised 1 kg herbivore learned to imitate a border collie and became remarkably effective at herding sheep. Who would have guessed? (Less surprisingly, my own buck rabbit likes to help me dig holes in the garden)

    The point being that once you have proto-dogs living amongst humans, they will quite quickly try to participate constructively in whatever the humans are doing. It is the nature of social animals. Maybe not specialized "work" animals, but animal helpers.

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    1. Pretty cool (and truly unexpected, perplexing) example. I did not even think until today of rabbits as "social animals" (maybe because they are herbivores?), much less intelligent enough to shepherd sheep, which is a task that requires good skills and is derived in dogs from hunting instincts.

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  13. "What about Papua, Terry?"

    Dogs are certainly not indigenous to Papua/New Guinea as it is beyond Wallace's line. Any dogs there must have been carried by humans, but I guess your query is in regard to how long ago did they arrive. As near as I can find the New Guinea dog is closest to the Australian dingo and so it's very likely they arrived in New Guinea abouth the same time as the dingo arrived in Australia. That is far from a definitive answer however. I'd be somewhat surprised if it wasn't the case though.

    "I can only imagine that we have no evidence, right?"

    I'm sure there is evidence as to when dogs first appear in New Guinea, but I can't find it.

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    1. "Phylogenetic Distinctiveness of Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian Village Dog Y Chromosomes Illuminates Dog Origins"

      Brown et al

      2011

      http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0028496

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    2. That study is nice, however it came just after the one by Ding and was a tad less conclusive, so I paid it a bit less attention, mentioning it only in one of my link lists.

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    3. Brown samples included dingos and village dogs, including island populations in SE Asia.

      Ding used only bred dogs, no dingos. Sample sizes were very small.

      I'm also a little perplexed by Ding's suggestion that the origin of all domesticated dogs could be in Asia south of of the Yangtze River.

      Also, Ding suggests very limited back breeding of dogs with wolves, an assertion I find very unlikely. Keepers of dog sled teams in Canada and Alaska have to go out of their way to keep wolves from breeding into their dog packs. It's not uncommon, in areas where there are wolves, to run across a dog that is part wolf.

      Brown's paper, although less conclusive, is more elegant in its approach.

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    4. Correction to the above:

      Both papers used wolve samples, of course.

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    5. I spotted that Ding's paper is largely based on a rather unknown (at least to me) previous work by Pang (2009): http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/content/26/12/2849.full

      You can see there that East Asia appears to have much greater diversity of unique haplotypes (yellow circles in fig.1) than all the rest of the Old World ("West"). They even suggest "Asia South of the Yangtze" as the origin of dog before Ding did (the two studies share some members: Zhang and Savolainen, so I guess this utmost coincidence is "normal": same faculties).

      Pang says on his samples:

      "Samples were assumed to represent geographical regions based on that they either 1) were from a region (mostly rural villages) with small influx of foreign dogs or 2) belonged to a breed with known historical geographic origin".

      Which is exactly what Ding repeated two years later:

      "Samples were assumed to represent geographical regions based on either (i) being from a region (mostly rural) with small influx of foreign dogs or (ii) belonging to a breed with known historical geographical origin".

      It would seem to be two versions of the same study overall. I'd check Pang 2009 anyhow but it does not seem that the study is based on breeds but mostly on village dogs.

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    6. Thanks, Maju, for the Pang reference. From what I can see, the Pang et al 2009 paper is an mtDNA study.

      For the y dna study, Ding et al:

      Sampled about 150 dogs total. Of these, 2/3rds appear to be "breeds".

      There are less than 50 dogs, representing all continents, that are regional village dogs.

      In the Brown paper:

      "We sampled 9 wild canids and 633 dogs for this study, including 480 village dogs (300 males) from the Middle East and Southeast Asia, 15 Australian dingoes (5 males), 45 desert-bred Salukis (31 males), and 93 male breed dogs from 35 additional breeds or mixtures of breeds."

      So, in terms of village dogs, Brown's sample size is almost 10x that of Ding. Additionally, Brown focuses on two regions, the Middle East and SE Asia.

      Again, Brown sampled dingo's, while Ding did not. One of the findings of the Brown paper is that there is significant introgression of indigenous SE Asian dingos' into SE Asians dogs.

      Both papers are very interesting, but I think the Brown paper is more relevant to an understanding of SE Asian dogs.

      Maju, I'm not trying to nail you down here, but I do think it is a bit curt to dismiss the Brown paper.

      Ah well, it's a beautiful Saturday afternoon. The remaining details of dog domestication will have to wait for another day.

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    7. Oops. I was thinking both were on mtDNA but you are right (I probably confused Ding's with the study on dingoes, which is also mtDNA-oriented (my bad). However they both seem to have used the same samples.

      Those samples include 170 dogs of which only 68 belong to any breed (see supp. material XLS 1 - http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/content/suppl/2009/08/28/msp195.DC1)

      Personally I'd consider mtDNA as a more reliable indicator. Same as in humans but dogs do not even pretend to marry and are artificially bred so the distortions implicit in Y-DNA studies could be even much more dramatic than among humans.

      This problem affects both Ding's (I realize now) and Brown's papers but not to Pang's. In any case all three papers seem to support a SE Asian origin of dogs, so they are mutually supportive rather than conflicting.

      "Maju, I'm not trying to nail you down here, but I do think it is a bit curt to dismiss the Brown paper".

      It was not my intention: I just read it after Ding's and they say roughly the same. At least Brown's paper is not opposed to the SEA origin of dogs (although IMO a South Asian origin could be also supported maybe).

      Some of the conclusions of Brown's are rather disturbing: she finds that European breeds are all of East Asian affinity so she speculates that all the Y-DNA genetic pool of European dogs is recent. But that's nonsense because most genuine European breeds (i.e. shepherd dogs and such) are all locally rooted from the Middle Ages or earlier. And before then the contacts with East Asia were almost zero.

      Regarding dingoes, my impressions is that they are, logically, related to the East Asian dogs (if European dogs are more so should be Australasian ones) but no other conclusion can be inferred from Brown's data (at least I do not see it).

      Let me adventure that, after the first dog domestication, maybe in South Asia, two Y-DNA pools were created, with parallels in human Y-DNA pools incidentally: one in West Asia and the other in SE Asia with projection to Australasia and Europe (via India/Central Asia and secondary role in West Asia). This last one in humans would correspond to the MNOPS Y-DNA macro-haplogroup, while the West Asian pool is concentrated around IJ (or just J) instead - or if you wish F(xMNOPS), so you can include G and T and what not.

      "Additionally, Brown focuses on two regions, the Middle East and SE Asia".

      That's indeed interesting and may provide a different, richer conclusions about dogs origins, maybe semi-dual, which might also be informative for human expansion (if my parallelism with human Y-DNA stands).

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    8. Maju, you bring out some very good points here. This is a very interesting topic. To be honest, I need to have a closer look at all three papers. I'll respond more in the next few days to your above comments. I also have some thoughts on why the data comes up with a SE Asian origin for dogs, even when there is so much archaeological evidence for dogs in the Aurignacian (Europe).

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  14. "I'd be somewhat surprised if it wasn't the case though".

    Seems unlikely I'll be surprised:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fauna_of_New_Guinea

    Admittedly Wikipedia but quote:

    "The Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris) was introduced to New Guinea about 2,000 years ago.[14] There is also an endemic wild dog, the New Guinea Singing Dog, Canis lupus hallstromi, that is closely related to the Australian Dingo. It arrived on the island at least 6,000 years ago. Its common name comes from the way these dogs harmonize during chorus howls. The NGSDs live in the remote mountains, above human habitation level, and are the largest land predator".

    And a little more on the 'singing dogs' of New Guinea:

    http://www.sandiegozoo.org/animalbytes/t-singing_dog.html

    Again the quote:

    "The New Guinea singing dogs’ fossil records date back at least 6,000 years: they are considered to be living fossils! Maybe they were Stone Age man's best friends?"

    And:

    "So, which came first: the dingo or the singer? Up until about 6,000 years ago, there was a land bridge connecting Australia and New Guinea. The Australian dingo could very well have originated from the New Guinea singing dog and then adapted to hunting larger prey in Australia’s wide-open spaces. OR, the New Guinea singing dog may have originated from the dingo and adapted to hunt in thick vegetation on steep mountainsides. OR, there is always the possibility that a now-extinct ancient dog population separately founded both species. Are you dizzy yet?"

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  15. Regarding the New Guinea singing dog (thanks for the info Terry), I could find only this paper, that lists a single New Guinean mtDNA sequence as being part of a wide star-like cluster (around haplotype A29) of dingoes and other dogs, including some ISEA lines.

    The paper is not comparable with the others mentioned here, which deal either with Y-DNA or autosomal genetics.

    I'd say that the lack of data does not preclude a possible very early arrival of dogs to New Guinea (of which Australian dingoes could be derived) but more research is needed.

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  16. Marnie:

    Yes i read the article. I'm sorry but it is not worth been in disagreement or agreement from a scientific point of view, or at least thats my opinion. It will be like being in scientific agreement/disagreement with... well something not scientific enough.

    Let me show you some references;

    Those papers are from 1906,1907 and 1910 french scientific publications, and they do identify a Mousterian dog.

    Présentation de la faune de la grotte Moustérienne de Châteaudouble (Var ) - Étude d'un humérus de chien moustérien de la grotte de Châteaudouble (Var)article; n°8 ; vol.4, pg 417 423

    http://www.youscribe.com/catalogue/presse-et-revues/savoirs/presentation-de-la-faune-de-la-grotte-mousterienne-de-chateaudouble-1073742

    Utilité de la détermination précise des débris osseux préhistoriques.Marcel Baudouin Bulletin de la Société préhistorique de France Año 1907 Volumen 4 Número 10 pp. 499-500

    http://www.persee.fr/web/revues/home/prescript/article/bspf_0249-7638_1907_num_4_10_7834

    Le chien en préhistoire, Bulletin de la Société préhistorique de France, Año 1910, Volumen 7, Número 7, pp. 372-376

    http://www.persee.fr/web/revues/home/prescript/article/bspf_0249-7638_1910_num_7_7_11812

    Baudoin concludes in his appreciation of Hue's work:

    "L'espèce Canis familiaris se retrouvera peutêtre encore dans des gisements plus anciens que le Moustérien" (M. Baudoin 1907)

    I'm NOT saying those examples are up to date and currently accepted.

    What i say is: (my opinion is that) Shipman "hypotesis" cant be taken seriously, because it shows itself a complete outlier from the historical, anthropological and archaeological background of the issue that is trying to explain. I believe that is really necessary to think about the fact that more than a hundred years ago there were studies on this question, while the essay we are talking here seems unable to cite any reference older that 2001.

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  17. Millán: if you think that the author is wrong because of something specific, like the old studies that suggest Neanderthal domestication of dogs, you should say so and not charge like a battering ram. It's much more elegant and your opinion will make a much better impression.

    Obviously A LOT of people, including many professional prehistorians surely, do not know of those studies from the time of Piltdown Man. Hence, it is great that you do mention them with all the cautions as you do now, but I don't think they are justification for the charge of the light cavalry that you went into with scholastic smoke bombs of name-walls and all.

    There may be reason for some criticism, sure, but the criticism should be clear and well pondered and not an emotional windmill.

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  18. Maju:

    I think you are standing on the "Dont let the facts spoil a nice theory" ground, here.

    Theres no real argumentation possible to cross the great chronological chasm between what are (nowadays) 2 different historical processes (wolf domestication and neandertal's retraction & demise).

    As I already said, the actual archaeozoological information shows that an incipient wolf/dog might semi-domesticated during the last iteration of Aurignacian (this is, circa 34-33 ka BP cal). And, probably, a more domestic one could be find on the Gravetian.

    As a contrast, the real main neandertal population's contraction is much earlier (circa 42-38 ka BP cal.). And the last Neandertals, while reduced to some specific regions, they do survive until much later (C. 28 ka BP cal.).

    So the real archaeological information points to a complete independence of both phenomena, and it really suggests that cratfing a link between them is (by now) a wildly unsupported speculation.

    Yet, you (and others too) seem quite euphoric about the "hypothesis", but there's nothing real to support it, beyond that enthusiasm. And the very enthusiasm is based, from my point of view, in a simple explanation: that the hypothesis is forged as an an "easy to fecht tell-tale".

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    1. Which are "the facts"? All you mentioned was a very (very!) old reference of alleged dog remains from Mousterian times. But yourself were not able to be any certain that this identification is correct the archaeological methods of a century ago were at the very least quite primitive and there is no C14 date or anything of the like, nor we know of any more recent review of that claim either. So I agree with your caution: those "facts" are at the very least dubious (and probably not such).

      As of today's archaeological "consensus" (as far as I know), the oldest known dog remains seem to be from the 30-40 Ka window in Europe and Central Asia in Aurignacoid contexts. These are, of course, dates ante quam: dog must have been domesticated back then but these are probably not the very first domestic dogs of all.

      So where are "the facts"? Your conclusions (not "facts") are not necessarily coincident with what we know:

      "the actual archaeozoological information shows that an incipient wolf/dog might semi-domesticated during the last iteration of Aurignacian (this is, circa 34-33 ka BP cal)"

      There's no species difference between dog and wolf both are Canis lupus and 100% interfertile (excepted miniature dogs maybe, but that's a very modern highly artificial development). Canis lupus living with humans, buried by humans with a bone in their jaws is what we usually call a dog.

      The "late Aurignacian" date is a date ante quam, not the minimal possible. Even yourself have suggested a possible (even if dubious) Neanderthal domestication of dogs some 100 Ka ago. You can't get the earliest know fossil, specially when those fossils are so rare, and imagine that it's the first of its kind... that's absurd (it has been done before but it's clearly wrong, non-scientific and misleading).

      "the real main neandertal population's contraction is much earlier (circa 42-38 ka BP cal.)"

      So? Date "ante quam", I insist. You can't force a data ante quam to be a date post quam without making a fool of yourself.

      "And the last Neandertals, while reduced to some specific regions, they do survive until much later (C. 28 ka BP cal.)".

      So in the end these actual dogs do overlap with the process quite well, right?

      Neanderthal demise: 50-28 Ka, first known dogs: 33 Ka. There is overlap. Not just that: those dogs appear in areas previously inhabited by Neanderthals but not anymore. It can be a coincidence also... but maybe not.

      It may be short of a smoking gun but it's certainly a gun in the scene of the crime.

      "you (and others too) seem quite euphoric about the "hypothesis""...

      Euphoric is not the term. Just interested. It looks plausible and therefore it is interesting: a possible piece of the puzzle of Neanderthals' demise and our own origins as West Eurasians. I'm not likely to accept that a complex process has a simple explanation like this one alone but I'm likely to accept that this can be part of the puzzle because it fits well with its context and time frame (and makes some logical sense, specially if Neanderthals, and maybe also other H. sapiens, lacked this key strategic "tool").

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  19. Going a bit deeper in the lack of basis of the hypothesis, we can find a big point there: The (probably) most accepted model about wolf-to-dog domestication is the one based on commensalism of some packs of those canids.

    They first became carrion eaters following the human camps, then they were introduced on camps as just carrion-eaters, living rubbish-bags and company/guard-alerting animals.

    This co-living model, actually, is has been documented on some subactual H-G and tribal societies, not to mention many farming/urban societies, where they dont use the dogs at all (at least as work animals). That is a strong point to support the commensalism hypothesis, by the way.

    And that's from my point of view the main argument here: that wolf-->dog domestication does not really, from any point of view, equals to the model of dog as a working (hunting, transport) animals. And might be more than a little of modern/postmodern bias on your automatic seeing of an obvious advantage, an idea that you have formulated.

    Dog as a fully developed working animal is a very specific model much less broadly extended that you might think. And the formation of this very model should necessarily be related to ((and explained by) big economical and social changes on am specific H-G society. And it is not, opposite to your ideas, an automatic advantage to grasp&win... because historical changes dont go this way (this is just a "modern" bias based on the "enlightment" myth of "Progress").

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    1. I for one have always rather believed in domestication not of packs but of individuals and that happens when you capture them young, usually as puppies, and feed them (maybe even breastfeed them), becoming their effective parent and master.

      I also don't think that your distinction between "working animal" and just a basic "domestic wolf" is clear cut at all. Those are just mental barriers that some people put in their heads for reasons I can't understand well but that surely come from the religious fantasy of humans being over animals by divine decree complemented by the industrial fantasy of animals being mere machines of sorts without emotions or intelligence of any kind (complementary false unscientific beliefs promoted for the irrational extremist careless exploitation of Nature which is a leit motiv of our age, sadly enough and catastrophically as well).

      "Dog as a fully developed working animal"....

      ... does not exist. It's a mental construct.

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    2. Many dogs are very altruistic and will try to intuit what other dogs and humans want. They will look at you and try to understand your mood, even try to cheer you up. They will try to help. I don't think the transition from wolf to work dog would have been an extremely difficult one. It would have been a natural outcome of wolf/dog's willingness and intelligence.

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    3. Wolves are instinctively members of a hierarchical pack, what we do is to replace that pack by human social cells and that hierarchy by human leadership.

      However I do not think that getting the dogs to carry loads as Native Americans did is automatic: wolves do not carry any loads naturally but they are instinctively ready for hunt, guard and fight.

      Essentially a dog is a multi-purpose intelligent weapon. But essentially a weapon (or warrior), not a worker.

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    4. Relegating the work of survival to the narrow definition of warrior, or not, is not relevant to the understanding of dog-human coevolution.

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    5. I probably explained badly. I meant hunter-warrior - obviously the role of dogs in hunting is the most important one, at least if we follow Shipman's article - and I totally agree in that aspect: "dogs are [primarily] for hunting", then for defense (alert and combat), then for company and then for everything else (secondary roles like carrying weights or Neolithic occupations like shepherding).

      It's also not defense so much against other people (incl. Neanderthals) but mostly against wild animals. The advantage is primarily an increase of efficiency of human societies in their interaction with Nature: greater productivity in hunt and much lower risks in general. All that at almost no cost.

      Indirectly this (possibly) paid off in the long term competition with Neanderthals (and maybe also other Homo sapiens).

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    6. Agree that dogs and human hunters were both "pack" hunters of large game. The tracking and game finding abilities of wolfdogs would seem an easy transition for them, especially since they probably quickly understood that the very dangerous moment of kill was now going to be the job of humans. (Wolves are often killed by kicks during attacks on large game.)

      I was interested in Shipman's comments that researchers think that the dogs at Aurignacian sites were used for the transportation of meat. The ability to wear a harness and pull was no longer in the range of normal wolf behavior, yet it happened. There had to be some willingness, understanding and cooperation on the part of wolfdogs for that to happen.

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    7. Obviously "wolfdogs" are more adaptive than their normal behavior in the wild may suggest, even if this is also very diverse. But I can only imagine that early dog owners did not expect them to behave other than like friendly wolves: these expectations, the lack of experience with domestication in general, make me think that the innovative jobs like carrying loads or even bringing the bird to the hunter (not wild behavior for sure) were developed some time after the initial domestication.

      But, on the other hand, once dogs became a common sight in human camps these kind of innovations just happened because the relation between humans and dogs was already established and intimate enough to allow for the weirdest ideas to be experimented with, including "fetch".

      Also wolves, specially smaller wolves and relatives like coyote, do not just hunt large game but more like middle sized (deer, boar) and small one (rats, rabbits, low flying birds). I would not necessarily focus on the big hunt and would instead consider also other hunt scenarios.

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    8. "innovative jobs like load carrying happened later"

      Agree. But that means that the early coevolution of humans and dogs happened before the Dordogne Aurignacian sites that Shipman mentions.

      Wolves "do not just hunt large game"

      This subject has been intensively investigated by the Canadian Wildlife Federation, the USGS, and the International Wolf Center. While wolves will hunt smaller game, even including hares and mice, research done at Ellesmere Island, Baffin Island, and Denali indicates that coordinated pack attacks on large game such as muskoxen, caribou and elk are common.

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    9. "... that means that the early coevolution of humans and dogs happened before the Dordogne Aurignacian sites that Shipman mentions".

      I don't see why. The main extra advantage induced by dogs, as I see it, is improved hunt (and secondarily defense). Dogs would not be in any case the only advantage of H. sapiens (others that have been suggested are: greater mobility because of longer legs, ranged weapons, optimized metabolic ratios for being much lighter, what compensated after multi-layered clothing and ranged weapons were invented, greater exploitation of diverse food-sources like hares or fish, etc.)

      So, assuming Mellars and French are right in the estimated population figures (what is always a bit risky), the factors behind those much greater densities of our species would be diverse and not just one. And in any case the dog carrying capacity doesn't seem very important in any case, much less when a characteristic of SW European UP is semi-sedentarism (mostly seasonal or temporary changes of home within a well defined territory that includes very diverse resources).

      "This subject has been intensively investigated by the Canadian Wildlife Federation, the USGS, and the International Wolf Center".

      Have they studied Canis lupus pallipes (or arguably C. pallipes), the Indian Wolf which is the most likely direct main ancestor of dogs?

      Indian wolves form smaller family packs (you also see that in Iberian wolves, more closely related to the "lupus" subspecies), having a social structure that "is similar to that of dingoes and coyotes [rather] than northern wolves". They prey mostly on antelopes, rodents and hares. When hunting antelopes (or sheep) they often work in couples but can also work in packs, using distraction and ambush tactics.

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    10. I must correct myself: the dog (C. lupus familiaris) is closest (by far) to the gray wolf (C. lupus lupus).

      The Indian and Hymalayan wolf (and a bit less also the Golden Jackal) are closely related to the grey wolf (but not at all so much).

      Cf. Aggarwal 2007 and this Smithsonian Institute page.

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  20. Another point to criticize here is the obsession with the advantage stuff. Adaptationist, functional advantages or disadvantages should be taken in account, but they have many problems that is necessary to adress when using them. I'll speak only of the two main problems here:

    (1) those conceptions, when used on prehistory, anthropology and archeology, they are usually wrongly, superficially designed and explained. They became more an "easy to fecht tell tale" that a really adaptative serious formulation.

    (2) some people, including quite a bunch of researchers, they tend to think that advantages are good as historical explanations, but they are not. They are, basically, a non-explanation. That is because, in the best case, they don't tell you how and why the change happen, or how the different aspects of social & economical & ideological fields interact to make the change posible. They just say: "well that was an advantage then it happened".

    This is, from my point of view, worth of no interest, and is not real science.

    And the fact is that, when you focus on the advantage/adaptative "explanation", what happens to the advantage is that:

    (1) the putative advantage is not brought to existence by the historical people (H-G here) thinking of it as an adaptative advantage. Similary to the biological evolution, the putative advantage is born in a different process. At the biological field, it is a more or less random process (mutation). But in the social field, historical change of human societies is not arbitrary: it is complex and deep, but highly structured and interweaved, a net of interactions of the different fields and aspects of social human live. And that great, fantastic, compelling and really interesting field of research is what the simplist adaptationist hypothesis completely fail to adress.

    (2) The other typical error is to believe that what "you" (the researching subject) "automatically" see as an obvious advantage in most situations, it is ant kind of "advantage" at all. Usually, it is not. It happens that way for two reasons:
    (a) First, the cultural bias of the researching subject (in this case, preconceptions about what a dog should do, and about what it should be, within a human society).
    (b) The second reason is the typical failure to aprehend that an adaptative advantage, similarly to what happens on the biological evolution, it can be only formulated (if you want to be serious & scientific) within an specific context of ecological conditions. Those conditions make posible an putative advantage to be just a real advantage. That is also a necessary condition, if you want to use the advantage/disadvantage theme on the study of human -social and historical- changes. And, beyond the ecological stuff, you need also to apprehend the more human-specific (social, economical, ideological) conditions, in order to formulate a minimally supported hypothesis. And that is completely lacking on the model.

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    1. On this aspect of the criticism I may agree more. The advantage argument can be deconstructed as an ex-post-facto rationalization and not truly real.

      To change the focus to a better known issue: why Western Europe suddenly set itself to overseas colonial enterprises. The Marxist school of History (very influential and interesting) would say that several issues and planes of the socio-economic reality acted but that two are maybe critical: (1) the economic conditions of East Indies spice trade (and earlier the West Sudan gold trade) and (2) the technological conditions of a sufficiently developed navigation.

      Conservative historians instead would emphasize the individual personalities of Henry the Sailor and Columbus for example but they can't really never get out of the Materialist frame for good and usually bow silently to those Marxist Historiography arguments when exposed and then go back to their princesses' and knights' stories for children, whose connection to reality is rather accidental, even if real.

      Similarly, in our Neanderthal demise problem, we can argument for individual decisions. No doubt, in a population of only a few thousands, individual histories were even more important... but can we absolutely reject that there were material conditions like overall area occupied, important phenotype differences affecting metabolism, speed, strength and who knows what, generally different techno-cultural traditions, effective low interbreeding rate, etc?

      No, we cannot.

      And maybe others like hurling and dogs... These are part of the evidence, maybe in the end we have to discard them but so far I see no reason to do so, rather the opposite.

      But you do have a point in advising caution about deceiving ourselves with ex-post-facto rationalizations that may fit our mentality but not the reality of the age. I just do not see it being the case here...

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  21. As a kind of a conclusion, i'll say that the proposed hypothesis tries an explanation for a series of historical issues (PM-PS, neandertals'demise...) without the necessary knowledge about them (not even a minimalistic one). It really evidences a lack of information on some basic stuff, and a deeper knowledge (or working with people having that knowledge) would probably have resulted on the very dissolution of the hypothesis itself, before print.

    I also think it does not understand very well how societies of hunter-gatherers work and how social and historical changes happen on those societies. And it fails to integrate the main hypothesis (or one of the main 2 at least) on dog's domestication, which is the commensalism.

    And finally, and find a lack of understanding of how to make sense of the adaptative (advantages/disadvantages) modelling applied to the human historical changes.

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  22. Millan,

    In short, as I read the article, I too wondered why they did not mention that dogs also may have been at Neanderthal sites. They may have.

    The larger question is this: What kind of relationship did Neanderthals have with dogs, compared to the Aurignacian culture? Was there something different in the dog-hominin culture that differentiated the Aurignacians from Neanderthals?

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  23. "I'd say that the lack of data does not preclude a possible very early arrival of dogs to New Guinea"

    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but if you can provide evidence for gogs in New Guinea before 6000 years ago I'd be very surprised.

    "My hypothesis of dogs (domestic wolves) spreading with the (y)MNOPS-(mt)R people does not require dogs in Australia at all but would suggest that they could have reached New Guinea"

    I notice that ISOGG has done away with MNOPS and now calls the haplogroup K(xLT). That means that K(xLT) formed K1, K2, K3, K4, M, S, NO and P. And that makes K(xLT)'s greatest diversity in ... guess where.

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    1. I'm still going to call it MNOPS because K(xLT) is the name of a paragroup (we can't be 100% sure that there is not any surviving K(xMNOPS,LT) and the nomenclature choice is horrible in any case).

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  24. Sorry. As far as I know there are no gogs in New Guinea. Dogs.

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  25. "we can't be 100% sure that there is not any surviving K(xMNOPS,LT)'

    There are several surviving K(xMNOPS) haplogroups: K1, K2, K3 and K4. Surely these last are K-M526 but 'do not have any of the SNPs defining the major groups'. But perhaps no K(xMNOPS,LT).

    "the nomenclature choice is horrible in any case".

    What makes it so 'horrible'? It makes perfect sense to me. Easy to understand.

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    1. F(xG) is not a haplogroup, C(xC3) is not a haplogroup, DE(xD) is not a haplogroup...

      They are paraphyletic groups, "paragroups" for short. You know what this means, right?

      You know then that that K(xK1) is also a paragroup, that K(xL) is also a paragroup and that K(xLT) is logically also a paragroup, including at least potentially some K(xM526), K* in the ISOGG tree.

      It would be alright if they called that clade K0, K1, U or... MNOPS: a positive name, but the negative name is extremely confusing and self-contradictory. So for me it's MNOPS until the people at ISOGG comes with a better name (not a worse one).

      "There are several surviving K(xMNOPS) haplogroups: K1, K2, K3 and K4".

      These are under the MNOPS node, under M256. You better consider them as MNOPS1, MNOPS2, MNOPS3 and MNOPS4 in all but name.

      If ISOGG would chose to call the clade K1 (and K2 to LT), then:
      K1 > K1a
      K2 > K1b
      K3 > K1c
      K4 > K1d
      NO > K1e but hanging from it: N and O
      M, P and S would keep their names as such but would hang under the K1 node.

      Too complicated for your mind? Make it K0 or U or Z, it's just a name. But it must be a positive name, not a negative one corresponding to a paragroup.

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  26. This new K(xLT) naming is confusing, I agree, the simplest would be:
    K
    ....K1
    .......K1a
    .......K1b
    ....K2
    .......K2a
    .......K2b
    ...........K2b1
    ...........K2b2
    .......K2c
    ...........K2c1
    ...........K2c2
    .......K2d

    but I think this would eliminate a lot of the old and relied upon names that were and still are used in published material, like Haplogroup O, N ,etc.... maybe that is why they opted out for this weird designation?

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    1. It's not the first time they do that in fact because, while the original A-R concept was alright for what was known in 2001, in 11 years it has been bent and reformed quite a number of times: the discovery of DE and CF and of CDEF (whatever name they use - CT but it's a mess), later the superstructure and substructure of K, more recently the chaos found inside A...

      In the past they did use Y(xA) to refer to what they call now BT and I call sometimes B'CDEF. Really the whole tree is needing a radical nomenclature review but I imagine that they are stretching the validity of the current nomenclature as much as they can.

      "his would eliminate a lot of the old and relied upon names that were and still are used in published material"

      That can be solved or at least patched with a nomenclature like the one already styled in the mtDNA tree, approach that sometimes is messy but that has provided some good results overall: the names usually imply what they actually mean without too much renaming.

      Anyhow, if they would adopt your raw proposal, not only a large list of major haplogroups (notably O, R and Q) would suffer in terms of confusion re. the published literature but also the names of many common haplogroups would be insufferably large, for example...

      ... R1b1a2a1a1a5b2b1a1a1a (which is already hyper-long and impossible to remember) would become something like K1g2a2a1b1a1a1e2b2a1a1a1.

      I'm rather for scrapping S and T (rename them as Kx and Ky, as they used to be - they are not so common after all) and splitting R into S (R2) and T (R1), and then T into U (R1a) and V (R1b). That way the example of R1b1a2a1a1a5b2b1a1a1a would be V1a2a1a1a5b2b1a1a1a, slightly shorter, not longer.

      But then again it's just a patch. An option might be to name them after iconic animals (totem-style) of the area where they are most common and/or may have originated. But then the phylogeny would not be very clear and there would be subjective choices to make.

      No good solution on sight.

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    2. Like you said the alphanumeric designations are still quite long anyway, especially the further downstream you go, so for the case I proposed above, Where R will be K2c2, you will only be adding 3 letters, any remaining clades down stream will be offset by 3 letters only, so R1->K2c2a , R1a->K2c2a1, R1b->K2c2a2 and so forth, so a terminal clade of R1b that already has a really long name, say for instance the clade defined by the Z343 mutation, or R1b1a2a1a1a5b2b1a1b2a will have only 3 more letters appended to it.

      one problem I see could be if unifying SNPs upstream of K are found, for instance if an SNP unifying IJK with G and H but is still below F is found then that may alter the K designation...

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  27. "F(xG) is not a haplogroup, C(xC3) is not a haplogroup, DE(xD) is not a haplogroup..."

    Where have I claimed they were? G is a haplogroup within F, C3 is a haplogroup within C, D is a haplogroup within DE, K1 is a haplogroup within K(xLT). Surely that is simple to understand.

    "You know then that that K(xK1) is also a paragroup, that K(xL) is also a paragroup and that K(xLT) is logically also a paragroup, including at least potentially some K(xM526), K* in the ISOGG tree".

    So what is the problem? K1, K2, K3, K4, M, NO, P and S are all members of the paragroup K(xLT). Simple.

    "It would be alright if they called that clade K0, K1, U or... MNOPS"

    Calling it MNOPS would exclude K1, K2, K3 and K4 from the clade. Why do you demand that should be so?

    "the negative name is extremely confusing and self-contradictory".

    In what way is it confusing and self-contradictory? The only confusion arises as to specifically 'K', but surely the situation is easily understood in fact.

    "These are under the MNOPS node, under M256. You better consider them as MNOPS1, MNOPS2, MNOPS3 and MNOPS4 in all but name".

    That is far more cumbersome though. And surely you understand exactly what the situation is within the haplogroup as the nomenclature stands.

    "If ISOGG would chose to call the clade K1 (and K2 to LT), then:
    K1 > K1a
    K2 > K1b
    K3 > K1c
    K4 > K1d
    NO > K1e but hanging from it: N and O
    M, P and S would keep their names as such but would hang under the K1 node".

    I understand that ISOGG prefers to maintain the names as at present understood as far as possible. Your proposed nomenclature would confuse the issue. As Etyopis said:

    "this would eliminate a lot of the old and relied upon names that were and still are used in published material, like Haplogroup O, N ,etc.... maybe that is why they opted out for this weird designation?"

    Presumably the case.

    "it's just a name".

    Exactly. So what's the problem? Surely everyone understands exactly what ISOGG mean by K(xLT). Is it simply that including K1, K2, K3 and K4 as single haplogroups along with M, NO, P and S within a single paragroup K(xLT) means the diversity within the clade conflicts with what you wish to believe?

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    1. "So what is the problem? K1, K2, K3, K4, M, NO, P and S are all members of the paragroup K(xLT). Simple".

      The problem is that it's not any paragroup (and I should not need to explain this to you): they are a monophyletic haplogroup.

      So it's a misnomer, a very confusing one.

      "Calling it MNOPS would exclude K1, K2, K3 and K4 from the clade".

      It does not. Much less if they are adequately renamed as MNOPS1, etc.

      Or better as K1a, K1b, etc. where K1 would be MNOPS aka K(xLT).

      "Your proposed nomenclature would confuse the issue".

      Not really I'd keep all the single letter names: M, N, O, P, Q, R and S as they are now. The "little Ks" have already undergone renaming in the past, when K2 became T and K4 (?) became S (for instance).

      The "problem" surely is that they do not want these capital letter clades hanging from a letter-number node. A very formalist obstacle whose "solution" is even worse.

      "So what's the problem?"

      Monophyletic vs paraphyletic, that is the problem: they are misusing paraphyletic nomenclature to describe a monophyletic clade.

      Incidentally there is enough K(xK1,K2,K3,K4,M,NO,P,S) to create much confusion with that name. Even if some K* would in the end be part of MNOPS, it's likely that some will not.

      K* (excluding all named subhaplogroups) is found apparently in:

      K* Important in Indigenous Australians from Arnhem Land=30%, Great Sandy Desert=17%[4] and other parts of Australia=42%.[5] High frequency in Micronesians from Kapingamarangi=67% and Majuro=64%.[6] In Melanesia 21%,[7] specially in Vanuatu=58%. In Filipinos=45%.[8] In Northeast India=8.3%.[9] In Europe found in Macedonians=1.3% ; Serbians=7.1 , Croatians=0.9 and Herzegovinians=2.8[10].

      What is anything but residual. These are also K(xLT), i.e. K-M9(xP326), but they are likely to be also K-M9(xM526) [K(xMNOPS)]. So they are K(xLT) but surely not part of M526, not of MNOPS and not of what ISOGG now confusingly calls K(xLT).

      You can't write K(xK(xLT)) and make any sense but that's what ISOGG is forcing us to do with this nomenclature abhorrence.

      Please petition ISOGG to correct this anomaly and meanwhile use MNOPS instead.

      Delete
  28. I agree about Maju's comments on Hue & Boudin papers. It was not my point to say that there are REAL Mousterian Dogs, but to show that we're talking about a huge and complex historical&paleoanthropological question that cannot be solved by plain, pure speculation, qhich is what we find (my opinion)at shipman's paper.
    BTW, via John Hawks, i just found an interesting article about the very question we've been discussing:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/science/dogs-and-humans-speculation-and-science.html?_r=1

    It's interesting that some of the main researchers on wolf's domestication dont really believe that Upper Pleistocene canids (the aurignacian and gravetian ones) are dogs, or domesticated animals at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The article, which I could read earlier somehow (it seems we both read the referencing entry at Hawks' blog), has become pay per view. Still, if I recall correctly the main arguments were:

      1. Speculation is good and necessary - but not necessarily correct and should be done properly, clearly discerning facts from interpretation.

      2. The several dog heads found are not dogs, in opinion of the author, but wolves displaying some biometric characteristics of dogs (shorter heads and smaller fangs essentially).

      As for #1, we all can't but agree - too generic to really matter.

      But in regards to #2 I find the following problems:

      a. The Aurignacoid dogs are buried and wolves do not do that (unless they would do it for food). The burials, if these can be confirmed, must have been made by humans.

      b. The mammoth bone in the mouth is a most clear indicator of dog burial. Wolves do not just not bury their own but also would never share their food except with the cubs.

      c. The biological domestication traits of the skulls rather indicate early dogs than anomalous wolves, everything else equal (and everything else is not equal but supports the dog theory in several different sites in the same time-frame).

      Does that mean that dogs were a key element favoring the expansion of H. sapiens in the "Neanderlands" (from Altai to Palestine and the Atlantic shores)? That's the speculative part and here each one can believe whatever thinks best (or nothing at all).

      I do recommend healthy skepticism but also to allow the logic of things to reveal itself beyond the micro-detail. Let's not the tree (the obsession with details) hide the forest (the much necessary general interpretation).

      Delete
  29. I still see the PNAS paper of Larson et al. (there's quite an "et al." there btw!) as Open Access. I just opened it at home.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/05/15/1203005109

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have you read it? I find it annoyingly pointless:

      1. Denies that Aurignacian dogs are dogs and does so without methodical study, it's just his opinion (or their opinion, assuming that all the authors back all the paper in all aspects).

      2. The genetic aspects of the paper are not optimal in many senses:

      2.a. autosomal (the less clarifying aspect of the genetic pool triad, at least for phylogenetic purposes).

      2.b. uses only pedigree breeds and not village dogs, when repeated studies of village dogs have produced much more interesting results in Africa, East Asia and West Asia (as discussed in this thread).

      The paper may have some interest for the study of dog breeds (some of them because I fail to see interesting dogs like the Basque Sepherd Dog and instead they insist with modern hybrids like Chihuahua, Bulldog or Dobermann, a breed that has just a few decades of existence) but that's about it.

      Feel free to show I'm wrong in this judgment but I fail to see in this study any particular merit and I'm dumping it in my "to do" list, so it will end as a link in a generic "Echoes of the Past" list that is already long overdue (my laziness).

      Delete

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