University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
Witt Dillon, Kelsey E.
A demographic and dietary history of ancient dogs in the Americas using ancient DNA.
Degree: PhD, Ecol, Evol, Conservation Biol, 2017, University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
Dogs were domesticated more than 15,000 years ago, and since then they have become an integral part of human lives. They have served as hunters, guards, and pets, and have migrated with humans to multiple continents, including the Americas and Australia. The close relationship between humans and dogs makes dogs a valuable proxy when studying human history. In this study, we use ancient dog remains from the Americas to gain an understanding of their demographic and dietary history, as well as that of humans. Mitochondrial DNA sequences of the hypervariable region of ancient dogs were compared to modern and ancient American dogs to model dog demography and compare populations to identify shared haplotypes. This study identified multiple founding haplotypes, and suggested that dogs arrived to the Americas after the initial human migration. The majority of published ancient American dog DNA sequences is of the hypervariable region, so this comparison gives us the opportunity to look at the largest number of dogs across the Americas. We also sequenced complete mitochondrial genomes (mitogenomes), to determine if mitogenome data could be used to confirm the hypotheses made about ancient American dog demography using the hypervariable region. Mitogenome sequences show a higher-resolution perspective on dog diversity, and the longer sequences revealed different aspects of dog demography. We were able to support the hypotheses that suggest that dogs migrated to the Americas with humans, and that dog populations vary in genetic diversity, but were not able to support the hypotheses that ancient and modern dogs show continuity, and that dogs arrived to the Americas later in time. We also found that ancient dog demography mirrors ancient Native American demography in specific regions of North America, such as the Pacific Coast and Southeast. Finally, we assessed the diet in dogs from the American Bottom using both stable isotopes and shotgun sequencing of dog coprolites, and used the findings about dog diet to infer human diet during the Late Woodland and Mississippian periods. We found that dogs (and humans) ate no maize during the Late Woodland Period, but were consuming large amounts of maize as early as 1010 AD, and maize was likely present in the American Bottom by 900 AD. Additionally, Mississippian dogs and humans supplemented their diet of maize with other foods including squash and fish. The analysis of the history of dogs has yielded a wealth of information about how dogs and humans interacted in the Americas.
Advisors/Committee Members: Malhi, Ripan S (advisor), Malhi, Ripan S (Committee Chair), Kukekova, Anna V (committee member), Roca, Alfred L (committee member), Ambrose, Stanley H (committee member), Kemp, Brian M (committee member).
Subjects/Keywords: Ancient deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA); Domestic dog; Population genetics; Demography; Mitochondrial deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA); Americas; Stable isotopes; Diet
to Zotero / EndNote / Reference
APA (6th Edition):
Witt Dillon, K. E. (2017). A demographic and dietary history of ancient dogs in the Americas using ancient DNA. (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2142/98204
Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):
Witt Dillon, Kelsey E. “A demographic and dietary history of ancient dogs in the Americas using ancient DNA.” 2017. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign. Accessed February 25, 2021.
MLA Handbook (7th Edition):
Witt Dillon, Kelsey E. “A demographic and dietary history of ancient dogs in the Americas using ancient DNA.” 2017. Web. 25 Feb 2021.
Witt Dillon KE. A demographic and dietary history of ancient dogs in the Americas using ancient DNA. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign; 2017. [cited 2021 Feb 25].
Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/98204.
Council of Science Editors:
Witt Dillon KE. A demographic and dietary history of ancient dogs in the Americas using ancient DNA. [Doctoral Dissertation]. University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign; 2017. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/98204