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Biol Lett. 2018 Oct 17;14(10). pii: 20180286. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2018.0286.

Dogs accompanied humans during the Neolithic expansion into Europe.

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CNRS/ENS de Lyon, PALGENE, ENS de Lyon, 46 allée d'Italie, 69364 Lyon Cedex 07, France
CNRS/MNHN/SUs - UMR 7209 AASPE, 55 rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France
Palaeogenomics and Bio-Archaeology Research Network, School of Archaeology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK.
School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, UK.
CNRS/MNHN/SUs - UMR 7209 AASPE, 55 rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France.
Romanian Academy of Sciences, 11 Henri Coandă St., Sector 1, 010667 Bucharest, Romania.
CNRS - UMR 7044 MISHA, 5 allée du Général Rouvillois, 67083 Strasbourg, France.
Osteoarchaeological Research Laboratory, University of Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden.
Institute of Archaeology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Edmond J. Safra Campus, Givat Ram, Jerusalem 91904, Israel.
Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Universitetskaya Nab. 1, 199034 Saint Petersburg, Russia.
LECA CNRS UMR 5553, 38000 Grenoble, France.
Univ Rennes, CNRS, IGDR, UMR 6290, 35000 Rennes, France.


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.


Neolithic; ancient DNA; dog; domestication


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