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Neomorphosis and heterochrony of skull shape in dog domestication

Abstract : The overall similarity of the skull shape of some dog breeds with that of juvenile wolves begs the question if and how ontogenetic changes such as paedomorphosis (evolutionary juvenilisation) played a role in domestication. Here we test for changes in patterns of development and growth during dog domestication. We present the first geometric morphometric study using ontogenetic series of dog and wolf crania, and samples of dogs with relatively ancestral morphology and from different time periods. We show that patterns of juvenile-to-adult morphological change are largely similar in wolves and domestic dogs, but differ in two ways. First, dog skulls show unique (neomorphic) features already shortly after birth, and these features persist throughout postnatal ontogeny. Second, at any given age, juvenile dogs exhibit skull shapes that resemble those of consistently younger wolves, even in dog breeds that do not exhibit a ‘juvenilized’ morphology as adults. These patterns exemplify the complex nature of evolutionary changes during dog domestication: the cranial morphology of adult dogs cannot simply be explained as either neomorphic or paedomorphic. The key to our understanding of dog domestication may lie in a closer comparative examination of developmental phases.
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Soumis le : mercredi 26 mai 2021 - 14:48:19
Dernière modification le : mercredi 17 novembre 2021 - 12:31:40


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Madeleine Geiger, Allowen Evin, Marcelo Sánchez-Villagra, Dominic Gascho, Cornelia Mainini, et al.. Neomorphosis and heterochrony of skull shape in dog domestication. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2017, 7 (1), pp.13443. ⟨10.1038/s41598-017-12582-2⟩. ⟨hal-03080369⟩



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