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Genomic and archaeological evidence suggest a dual origin of domestic dogs

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Science  03 Jun 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6290, pp. 1228-1231
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf3161

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  • Use of Erroneous Wolf Generation Time in Assessments of Domestic Dog and Human Evolution
    • L. David Mech, Senior Research Scientist, U.S. Geological Survey, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
    • Other Contributors:
      • Shannon M. Barber-Meyer, Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

    Use of Erroneous Wolf Generation Time in Assessments of Domestic Dog and Human Evolution
    L. David Mech and Shannon M. Barber-Meyer
    U.S. Geological Survey, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, 8711–37th Street, SE, Jamestown, North Dakota 58401-7317 United States
    Mech mailing address: U.S. Geological Survey, The Raptor Center, 1920 Fitch Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108 United States

    Scientific interest in dog domestication and parallel evolution of dogs and humans (1) has increased recently (2-4), and various important conclusions have been drawn based on how long ago the calculations show dogs were domesticated from ancestral wolves (Canis lupus). According to Skoglund et al. (2015:3), calculation of this duration is based on “the most commonly assumed mutation rate of 1 x 10-8 per generation and a 3-year gray wolf generation time . . .” (5). It is unclear on what information the assumed generation time is based, but the latest paper (6) seems to have based generation time on a single wolf (7). The importance of assuring that such assumptions are valid is obvious.
    Recently, two independent studies employing three large data sets and three methods from two widely separated areas have found that wolf generation time is 4.2-4.7 years. The first study, based on 200 wolves in Yellowstone National Park used age-specific birth and death rates to calculate a generation time of 4.16 years (8). The second, using estimated first-breeding times of...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • Typo in Fig 1

    Tawain Village dog --> should be "Taiwan" village dog

    Competing Interests: None declared.