Author Topic: Dingoes aren't dogs!  (Read 3287 times)

sbell

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Dingoes aren't dogs!
« on: April 04, 2014, 12:28:35 AM »
SO after they were finally studied in depth, it turns out that the Australian dingo is its own species

So humans domesticated wolves...then dogs diverged into another species all on their own...nature is strange.

And it only took a few thousand years to become distinct.



sphyrna18

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Re: Dingoes aren't dogs!
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2014, 05:32:29 AM »
I think this is an April Fools joke. DNA analyses have shown time and again that they are at the very least a subspecies of gray wolf (Canis lupus), and most likely a very ancient breed of domestic dog.

sbell

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Re: Dingoes aren't dogs!
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2014, 07:10:29 AM »
I think this is an April Fools joke. DNA analyses have shown time and again that they are at the very least a subspecies of gray wolf (Canis lupus), and most likely a very ancient breed of domestic dog.

Then March 27th is a very long set up for a pointless joke. Or June 2013, when the manuscript was submitted.

To be published in the Journal of Zoology.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/enhanced/doi/10.1111/jzo.12134/

Like many things (Komodo dragon bacteria?) it is more likely that its classification was always just assumed because nobody actually checked. Of course a domestic dog is genetically close--it is the sister taxon.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2014, 07:12:58 AM by sbell »

sphyrna18

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Re: Dingoes aren't dogs!
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2014, 03:13:17 PM »
My apologies; I only saw the publication date in the first link you provided. But dingo DNA has been sequenced, and genetically, they are domestic dogs, all of which are genetically wolves. In fact, dingos are most closely allied to the Pariah Dogs that have been roaming Southeast Asia for thousands of years. The New Guinea Singing Dog, also touted as a unique species, Canis hallstromii, has been shown to be a landrace of domestic dog closely allied to dingos. Genetically, the basenji, a well known, undisputed breed of domestic dog, is more unique from other domestic dogs than a dingo is. It's really hard to argue with the DNA. The study you referenced makes interesting points, but none that qualify dingos as a unique species. Based on what they are using to determine "species," Chihuahuas are a unique species, too. The DNA analyses used samples of both living dingos and of preserved dingos, and the results are still the same.  I tend to lean toward being a "splitter" when classifying animals, but in this case, the research indicating dingos are domestic dogs is overwhelming.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2014, 03:26:35 PM by sphyrna18 »

tyrantqueen

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Re: Dingoes aren't dogs!
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2014, 12:04:29 AM »
Okay, I thought that dogs shared a common ancestor with wolves, but were not descended from them. Similar to how humans and chimpanzees share an ancestor. Anyone care to clarify?

I always thought that dingoes were...well, dingoes.

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sbell

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Re: Dingoes aren't dogs!
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2014, 05:12:21 AM »
Okay, I thought that dogs shared a common ancestor with wolves, but were not descended from them. Similar to how humans and chimpanzees share an ancestor. Anyone care to clarify?

I always thought that dingoes were...well, dingoes.

I think it's a sort-of situation. The wolves that were domesticated are not exactly the same genetic lineage of modern wolves but an extinct one (I seem to recall seeing an article about that recently). http://www.livescience.com/42649-dogs-closest-wolf-ancestors-extinct.html

As for dingoes, they descended from domestic dogs through isolation; the most recent science is apparently thinking that they are a distinct species. It wouldn't be entirely surprising if a breed that was completely isolated for about 3000 years became genetically distinct (however someone may want to taxonomically define that distinction).

sauroid

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Re: Dingoes aren't dogs!
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2014, 06:47:34 AM »
i suppose the classification only applies to dingo specimens before the 20th century since a lot of modern dingos have been tainted by recent domesticated dogs?

sphyrna18

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Re: Dingoes aren't dogs!
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2014, 02:07:52 AM »
Okay, I thought that dogs shared a common ancestor with wolves, but were not descended from them. Similar to how humans and chimpanzees share an ancestor. Anyone care to clarify?

I always thought that dingoes were...well, dingoes.

I think it's a sort-of situation. The wolves that were domesticated are not exactly the same genetic lineage of modern wolves but an extinct one (I seem to recall seeing an article about that recently). http://www.livescience.com/42649-dogs-closest-wolf-ancestors-extinct.html

As for dingoes, they descended from domestic dogs through isolation; the most recent science is apparently thinking that they are a distinct species. It wouldn't be entirely surprising if a breed that was completely isolated for about 3000 years became genetically distinct (however someone may want to taxonomically define that distinction).

Domestic Dogs are 100% wolf genetically; they are a subspecies of gray wolf (Canis lupus) that likely developed from one of the smaller wolf subspecies similar to Arabian Wolves (Canis lupus arabs), with whom they share many morphological characteristics.  African, Arabian (or Middle Eastern), Indian, and other southern subspecies of Wolves are much smaller than what most people think of when they think about wolves, weighing between 20 and 40 pounds; they have smaller teeth and smaller braincases than the larger northern wolves, as well, which is consistent with Domestic Dogs and Dingoes.  Although my opinion in the matter means nothing, I've always been curious about how closely related Domestic Dogs are to Afrian Wolves; their genomes have not yet been compared as far as I know.  Dingoes are Domestic Dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) that have been feral for thousands of years, but they are still genetically very similar to many other ancient southeastern and east Asian breeds of domestic dogs, such as Pariah Dogs from India and Shiba Inu from Japan.  It's been shown that Dingoes are not genetically unique, nor have they ever been.  Morphological studies also show that there is no difference between dingoes and domestic dogs.  In fact, the Carolina Dog, discovered in the 1970s in North Carolina in the southeastern United States is called the American Dingo because it is genetically, morphologically, and behaviorally so similar to Australian Dingoes that they are essentially the same breed of dog.  In fact, Carolina Dogs are classified as either Canis lupus familiaris and as Canis lupus dingo depending on the author.  Carolina Dogs are now regarded as the most ancient breed of domestic dog in the Western Hemisphere, being the dogs that accompanied the first humans to inhabit America; they are depicted in cave paintings by the humans that arrived in America via the Bering land bridge.  That means that Carolina Dogs are actually older than Australian Dingoes.  It also means that both are domestic dogs, and *should* be classified as Canis lupus familiaris.  And while Dingoes and Domestic Dogs are distinct from most (all?) other extant Wolf subspecies, they are not enough to justify separate species consideration.  I've seen research that indicates that a very small number of one subspecies of wolf was able to be domesticated; whether that subspecies evolved, persisted to present, or died out remains a mystery.

I think one of the main reasons that Dingo taxonomy is so "confusing" comes down to the economics of conservation.  There's only so much money to go around, and only those animals deemed truly unique often get that money.  Personally, I believe that Dingoes should be conserved, as they are a breed of dog that developed naturally over thousands of years.  Unfortunately, many conservation programs cannot or do not support conserving any type of domestic animal; the money is to be spent only on conserving wildlife.  Therefore, classifying Dingoes as a unique species has very real economic advantages in terms of preserving them and their habitats.  No matter how noble the intentions may be, reclassifying Dingoes as something other than dogs is pushing an economic and political agenda and using bad science to do so.

There is a similar debate going on in America about the Red Wolf, classified as either a unique species Canis rufus, or as a subspecies of wolf, Canis lupus rufus.  The problem lies in the fact that the Red Wolves that remain all appear to be hybrids of Wolves and Coyotes; which means that Red Wolves may or may not have ever actually existed.  Their classification as a unique species has led to great conservation efforts being made and reintroduction efforts in both North Carolina and Smoky Mountains National Park; if they are deemed nothing more than wolf x coyote hybrids, they will lose all protection from hunting and no more reintroduction efforts will be made, and they will be eradicated as vermin as Coyotes are.  I'd like to think that these Coy-Wolves could be recognized as a unique entity in-and-of themselves because it is a strange situation whereby these two species have created an animal that is able to thrive in areas where neither pure species has been able to: human-modified habitats where ungulates are the primary food source.  But right now, they are deemed pests and can be shot on sight in most areas.  A simple change in classification would stop all that, but does the mean justify the end?  Coy-wolves aren't a unique species; whether Red Wolves ever were or not may never be fully known, but whatever they are/were, they fill a very specific ecological niche that is unable to be filled by any other animal.

The implications of taxonomy and classification are very, very real; whether animals live or die is often directly related to how they are classified.  That is what needs to be changed.  It should not be about whether an animal is a unique species or not, but about ecological niche and biodiversity.  Dingoes are not a separate species or even a true wild dog, just as Mustangs are not true wild horses, but both fill ecological niches and deserve attention in that regard.  What would be the ecological impact of not conserving Dingoes? Perhaps that should warrant conservation consideration?  They are a domestic dog that has reverted in many ways back to a mostly wild form, but for now they are dogs.  The latest research doesn't actually provide any evidence to the contrary, in fact, the livescience.com article linked supports the classification of Dingoes as Dogs.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2014, 02:19:24 AM by sphyrna18 »

tyrantqueen

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Re: Dingoes aren't dogs!
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2014, 12:18:52 AM »
Thank you for the explanation. I'm a big dog lover so this sort of stuff is interesting to me.

There's a great book on the subject of dog evolution:


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sauroid

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Re: Dingoes aren't dogs!
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2014, 02:17:13 AM »
yes thanks for the info. im also interested in dog evolution especially the development of the ancient domesticated breeds and wild Canidae.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2014, 02:18:30 AM by sauroid »