The pariah case : some comments on the origin and evolution of primitive dogs and on the taxonomy of related species




Gonzalez, Antonio

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This thesis describes our current knowledge on the taxonomy and archaeology of some Asian, African and Australasian Canis and explores new approaches to their classification and identity, using the Asian pariah as a pivotal point. I analysed several populations of primitive dogs, and described processes of diversification. What in many places is simply designated "the village dog" is a subtype of the pariah; the Australian dingo is also connected to the pariah, although there are some peculiarities related to its non-domestic nature; and I propose a hypothesis on the nature of the pariah. Asian wolf populations contain substantial heterogeneity, and a review of the taxa lupus and pallipes and their intermediate forms in Asia is much needed. The so-called wolf jackal is an independent species from the golden jackal but the name Canis lupaster, frequently used for it, does not apply to it. Available documentary and collection data support a strong connection between C. mosbachensis and the pale footed wolf (Canis pallipes). A Pleistocene wolf skull from the Narmada Valley may exemplify the transition from the smaller wolves of the Pleistocene drylands to the larger types that populated the Levantine highlands during the Natufian. The Natufian dogs are a very variable group; Neolithic materials from the Middle East and South and Central Asia are morphologically closest to modern types of pariah. Finally the extensive sampling conducted during this work provided evidence of aberrant specimens among some of the studied populations.






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