Sunday, February 28, 2021

Remembered in Story

From Razib Khan's interview with Anders Bergstrom about the five lineages of canines I learned that the dingoes arrived in Australia much more recently than humans, closer to 5,000 years ago than to 50,000. In that time period the nearest land to NW Australia was over 60 miles, too far for any dog to swim. They were thus brought by boat.  The Aboriginal tribes of NW Australia have a few origin stories of the dingo, which they consider to be supernaturally powerful and important.  One of those origin stories includes dingoes running around in a boat before reaching Australia. Sometimes truths can persist in story for thousands of years with no aid from writing.


Aggie said...

They do DNA analysis for dogs now. I am told it can actually give you the breakdown on the breeds your mutt has in his/her bloodline. I wonder if anyone has done any trans-Pacific work on dingos yet to see where their origins may lie?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

That's what Anders Bergstrom's paper is on and the podcast was about. There are five prehistoric lineages and all dogs are various mixes plus subsequent variants. Most of the dogs we know are descended from the lineage in NW Russia, Karelia, Estonia and a lineage from the Levant, mixed. New World dogs were descended from that NW Russian lineage as well, though mixed with some East Asian. Like the humans, who also had a population across the top of Asia that had mixed with ancient East Asian groups and were the ancestors of Native American tribes. The dogs from the Levant are the ancestors of African dogs as well. The dingoes are the most separated branch.

If you are into this, I recommend that podcast. I always enjoy hearing Bergstrom say "yenetics."