Dogs accompanied humans during the Neolithic expansion into Europe

Morgane Ollivier*, Anne Tresset, Laurent A.F. Frantz, Stéphanie Bréhard, Adrian Bălăşescu, Marjan Mashkour, Adina Boroneant, Maud Pionnier-Capitan, Ophélie Lebrasseur, Rose Marie Arbogast, László Bartosiewicz, Karyne Debue, Rivka Rabinovich, Mikhail V. Sablin, Greger Larson, Catherine Hänni, Christophe Hitte, Jean Denis Vigne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

Near Eastern Neolithic farmers introduced several species of domestic plants and animals as they dispersed into Europe. Dogs were the only domestic species present in both Europe and the Near East prior to the Neolithic. Here, we assessed whether early Near Eastern dogs possessed a unique mitochondrial lineage that differentiated them from Mesolithic European populations. We then analysed mitochondrial DNA sequences from 99 ancient European and Near Eastern dogs spanning the Upper Palaeolithic to the Bronze Age to assess if incoming farmers brought Near Eastern dogs with them, or instead primarily adopted indigenous European dogs after they arrived. Our results show that European pre-Neolithic dogs all possessed the mitochondrial haplogroup C, and that the Neolithic and Post-Neolithic dogs associated with farmers from Southeastern Europe mainly possessed haplogroup D. Thus, the appearance of haplogroup D most probably resulted from the dissemination of dogs from the Near East into Europe. In Western and Northern Europe, the turnover is incomplete and haplogroup C persists well into the Chalcolithic at least. These results suggest that dogs were an integral component of the Neolithic farming package and a mitochondrial lineage associated with the Near East was introduced into Europe alongside pigs, cows, sheep and goats. It got diluted into the native dog population when reaching the Western and Northern margins of Europe.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number20180286
JournalBiology Letters
Volume14
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Ancient DNA
  • Dog
  • Domestication
  • Neolithic

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