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Are dingoes closer to wolves or dogs?

The dingo has been given its own species status, recognising that it is not descended from dogs or wolves. WHEN THE FIRST Australian governor, Arthur Phillip, landed on Australian shores in 1788 he documented the first written physical description of the dingo.

What dog is closest to a dingo?

The Carolina Dog, also known as American Dingo due to its resemblance to the Australian Dingo, is a breed of medium sized dogs that have been living in the forests and swamps of the Southeastern US for hundreds of years. Despite being a free roaming breed, many Carolina Dogs are now domesticated and have become […]

The Dingo is Australia’s wild dog. It is an ancient breed of domestic dog that was introduced to Australia, probably by Asian seafarers, about 4,000 years ago. Its origins have been traced back to early breeds of domestic dogs in south east Asia (Jackson et al.

The Dingo is persecuted on a massive scale with broad-scale baiting, trapping and shooting. For this reason the Dingo is listed as Vulnerable to extinction under the International Union of Nature Conservation’s Red List of Threatened Species.

“Indigenous Australians understood that there was something different about the dingoes and the colonial dogs,” said Pat Shipman, retired adjunct professor of anthropology, Penn State. “They really are, I think, different animals. They react differently to humans. A lot of genetic and behavioral work has been done with wolves, dogs and dingoes. Dingoes come out somewhere in between.”

“Part of the reason Im so fascinated with dingoes is that if you see a dingo through American eyes you say, thats a dog,” said Shipman. “In evolutionary terms, dingoes give us a glimpse of what started the domestication process.”

Domestic dogs came to the Australian continent in 1788 with the first 11 ships of convicts, but dingoes were already there, as were aboriginal Australians who arrived on the continent about 65,000 years ago. A large portion of dingoes in Australia today have domestic dog in their ancestry, but dingoes came to Australia at least 4,000 years ago according to fossil evidence. Shipman believes that date may be even earlier, but no fossils have yet been found.

Dingoes, and the closely related New Guinea singing dogs, look like the default definition of dog, but they are not dogs.

Most domestic dogs evolved along with humans as humans became agriculturalists and moved to a diet containing large amounts of starch, whether from maize, rice, potatoes or wheat. Their genome changed to allow the digestion of these starches. Dingoes, like wolves, have very few of the genes for starch digestion.

Scientists Solve The Mystery Of How Closely Related To Dogs That Dingoes Are

Dingoes are Australias largest land predator, but their evolutionary history has been shrouded in mystery and debated for decades. Now, a new study finds that they are genetically somewhere between a wolf and a modern domestic dog.

Researchers sequenced the genome of a “pure” dingo puppy that was discovered alive by a roadside in the central Australian desert, according to a statement (opens in new tab) released by La Trobe University in Melbourne. When compared with the DNA of domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) and a wolf (Canis lupus), the dingo pup’s DNA identified dingoes as an “intermediary” between wolves and domestic dog breeds, researchers recently reported

“It gives us much clearer insight into how the dingo evolved, which is fascinating from a scientific point of view, but also opens up all sorts of new ways to monitor their health and ensure their long-term survival,” study co-author Bill Ballard, a professor of evolutionary genomics at La Trobe University, said in the statement.

Scientists suggest that humans brought the ancestors of modern dingoes to Australia between 5,000 and 8,500 years ago, but its not clear where these ancient dogs were in the domestication process when they first arrived. Modern dog breeds werent introduced to Australia until 1788, so dingoes were also separated from other dogs for thousands of years.

Dingoes are apex predators and have been top of the food chain in Australia since Tasmanian tigers (Thylacinus cynocephalus) disappeared from mainland Australia at least 2,000 years ago (Tasmanian tigers survived on the island of Tasmania until 1936, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (opens in new tab)). Dingoes may have contributed to the extinction of Tasmanian tigers by competing with them for food, according to the Australian Museum (opens in new tab).

After arriving in Australia, dingoes ancestors adapted to eat marsupials, including kangaroos, as well as reptiles. One difference between dingoes and most domesticated dog breeds is that dingoes — like wolves — have only one copy of the amylase-producing gene AMY2B, which breaks down starch. This reduces dingoes ability to digest starch and suggests that dingoes have a protein-rich diet, as wolves do. By comparison, most domestic dog breeds have multiple copies of AMY2B, so they can handle a starch-rich diet that is more similar to a human diet. RELATED STORIES

Today, dingoes interbreed with feral dogs — domestic dogs living in the wild — further complicating their status. A 2015 study published in the journal Molecular Ecology (opens in new tab) found widespread hybridization between dingoes and domestic dogs, potentially threatening dingo survival and disrupting their role in the Australian ecosystem.

The study was published April 22 in the journal Science Advances (opens in new tab).

Patrick Pester is a staff writer for Live Science. His background is in wildlife conservation and he has worked with endangered species around the world. Patrick holds a masters degree in international journalism from Cardiff University in the U.K.