Media Alert: America’s Oldest Dog Discovery Helps Solve Canine DNA Riddle, Spokesperson & Images Available

Think your pup has something in common with dogs that roamed the Americas 10,000 years ago? It may, but not in the way you think.

The remains of a 10,000 year-old dog has proved key to solving an important canine conundrum: What happened to the dogs of ancient North America? Did they intermix with dogs brought by European settlers? And what breeds today can call them ancestors? A second new study uses a battery of DNA analyses of both modern and ancient canines to search for clues.

Though the original North American dogs are likely gone, they left an inauspicious legacy, in the form of Canine transmissible venereal tumors.

Analysis of modern tumors suggest that the canine Patient Zero lived up to 8,225 years ago—and was likely a North American dog. Which makes this the world’s oldest continuously propagated cell line.

Read the full story HERE.

Maya Wei-Heiss, National Geographic science expert, is available for commentary out of Washington, D.C. Maya would be able to explain what this disease is and what it means for dogs today.

Press Contact:

Kelsey Taylor, kelsey.taylor@natgeo.com, 202-912-6776