Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Dog: Domestication

  • Angela PerriEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_2204

Basic Species Information

Dog domestication research is often controversial, but one point that is universally agreed upon by all parties is the identity of the direct ancestor of all domestic dogs: the gray wolf ( Canis lupus). Since 1993, the domestic dog has been taxonomically classified as Canis lupus familiaris, though Canis familiaris is still commonly used. This genetic similarity to the gray wolf is equivalent for all dog breeds from Chihuahua to Great Dane (Vila et al. 1997). Within the taxonomic subfamily of Caninae, domestic dogs are grouped with the “wolf-life canids” (Fig. 1) also including gray wolf ( Canis lupus), coyote ( Canis latrans), golden jackal ( Canis aureus), black-backed jackal ( Canis mesomelas), and cape hunting dog ( Lycaon pictus) (Wayne & Ostrander 2007). While evidence for prehistoric dog remains becomes ambiguous beyond about 15,000 years ago, fossil wolf remains have been found in association with human contexts from at least 100,000 years ago.
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ArchaeologyDurham UniversityDurhamUK
  2. 2.Department of Human EvolutionMax Planck Institute for Evolutionary AnthropologyLeipzigGermany