Australian native dog came from China?September 9th, 2011 - 9:01 am ICT by IANS
Sydney, Sep 9 (IANS) The dingo, Australia’s native dog, may not be Australian at all. Fragments of DNA from such dogs suggest they may have come a long way from China.
Though dingoes do not appear in Australia’s archeological record until 3,500 years ago, genetic evidence say the native dog probably arrived in the country between 4,600 and 18,300 years ago.
Research by geneticists like Alan Wilton of the University of New South Wales and Peter Savolainen of the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm also suggest the routes dingoes, New Guinea singing dogs and Polynesian dogs took to their ultimate destinations.
“This gives a clear indication that Polynesian dogs, as well as dingoes and New Guinea singing dogs, trace their ancestry back to south China through mainland Southeast Asia and Indonesia,” The Australian daily quoted the scientists as saying.
Earlier, it was believed that dingoes spread to Southeast Asia, Oceania and Australia from Taiwan and the Philippines, a route highly dependent on boats.
Wilton and Savolainen worked on a 2004 study, conducted with another team, that found dingoes were introduced to Australia about 5,000 years ago.
Lyn Watson, co-founder of the Dingo Discovery Sanctuary and Research Centre near Melbourne, said: “In my long experience with dogs and dingoes, they are so physiologically and behaviourally different, dingoes must have been separated from domestic dogs for many thousands of years.”
Australian National University archeologist Peter Bellwood agrees that a “Chinese ultimate origin is not in dispute”.
He, however, said genetic-based dating techniques were unreliable.
“And, anyway, dogs were not present in (the archaeological record) in Indonesia or Australia before 3,500 years; so obviously the dates are much too old,” he said.
Wilton and Savolainen analysed DNA from 674 dogs, 232 dingoes and three New Guinea singing dogs.
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Tags: archaeological record, archeological record, archeologist, asia oceania, dingo australia, dingoes, domestic dogs, genetic evidence, geneticists, long way from china, mainland southeast asia, new guinea singing dogs, new south wales, peter bellwood, polynesian, royal institute of technology, south china, university of new south wales, watson co, wilton