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.
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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.
Kelsey Taylor, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-912-6776