[Taxacom] domesticates as subspecies?

Ken Kinman kinman at hotmail.com
Mon Dec 30 17:41:19 CST 2013

Hi Fred and Jan,

        Well, the most recent study (published in Science last month) indicates that dogs were domesticated from a wild subspecies of European wolf.  There are presumably no longer any wild descendants of this population in existence.                        

        I see no problem using the trinomen, Canis lupus familiaris, for that subspecies (and its domesticated descendants).  Although humans have introduced domesticated dogs throughout the world, it still seems likely that it began as a geographical partition (which this latest study now indicates lived in Europe).  A weblink to one news story is given below.      

                  ------------------------Ken Kinman






> Date: Mon, 30 Dec 2013 11:07:51 -0800
> From: jkoler at ccountry.net
> To: Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: [Taxacom] domesticates as subspecies?
> Fellow puzzlers-over-details,
> Surfing around, I find that Wikipedia calls the domestic Chicken
> Gallus gallus domesticus "a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl," calls
> the domestic Dog, Canis lupus familiaris, and denominates the domestic
> Cat "Felis catus or Felis silvestris catus."
> Aren't zoological subspecies supposed to be geographical partitions of
> the geographic range of a species? And more generally, how is one
> supposed to name a kind of partition of a species (if there is enough
> gene flow in these cases to justify infrapecific status) for which the
> applicable Code has no category?
> all the best to everyone in 2014,
> fred schueler
> Fred, EXACTLY! I have been disturbed about this misuse of names for some
> time. The Code says that IF the ancestor of a domesticant is known the
> domesticated variety should have the same name as the ancestor. With
> chickens the ancestor is fairly certain, but with the dog the gray wolf
> Canis lupus is merely a supposed ancestor. Yes, the vast majority
> "believe" the gray wolf is ancestral to the domestic dog, but this is
> based on close genetic similarity only. It has been repeated so much it is
> accepted on faith alone without hard proof such as a series of wolf-to-dog
> intermediates.
> I believe the ancestor of the dog was a "dog," a smaller sister species to
> the gray wolf. Newest genetic results show the dog is not genetically
> closer to any living wolf, so none of them are ancestral. My new study (in
> prep for submission) shows dogs have significantly different craniodental
> adaptations/tooth morphology than gray wolf (well, really than any living
> canid), indicating the dog ancestor was adapted to a niche different than
> the gray wolf.
> The dog and wolf genetic results show some very minor hybridization in the
> past, but the two gene pools have maintained their integrities over at
> least 12,000 years of sympatry, even in places dogs are traditionally
> free-ranging, which to me indicates they are "good" species, however you
> define that designation.
> So, using C. lupus for the dog is unsupported. But if you do use C. lupus,
> the only true subspecies are the two dingoes (Australia and New Guinea),
> long-term geographic isolates that have evolved diagnostic traits that
> separate them from domestic dogs (and other canids) and from each other.
> C. lupus use escalated when Wilson and Reeder's Mammal of the World,
> without proper justification (other than "everyone knows" the dog is a
> domesticated gray wolf), changed the dog name from C. familiaris to C.
> lupus familiaris. Very bad science based on assumptions that obscure true
> taxonomy!
> Jan
> Janice Koler-Matznick, M.S., A.C.A.A.B.
> The New Guinea Singing Dog Conservation Society
> IUCN Canid Specialist Group (member)
> 5265 Old Stage Road
> Central Point, OR 97502 USA
> 541-621-9290
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