The Origin of Domestic Dogs

Animal Genomics & The Origin of Domestic Dogs

This is a Youtube lecture by Dr. Mark Siegal from the New York University course Indian pariah dog. Might the ancient foundation stock of modern dog breeds be some similar wolf variety now extinct in the wild instead of what’s in Europe today?

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Mark Siegal
Nov 18 2014

Re: Dog evolution and atavistic reversion

The origin of modern dogs is still an area of active investigation. It used to be thought that dogs originated in east Asia, but then evidence suggested it was perhaps the Middle East. The latest, best data suggest Europe:

The most reliable indicator of ancestry will continue to be DNA (in combination with archaeology/fossil evidence). Visible traits are not as reliable because they are under selection and therefore do not necessarily align with ancestry.

Jersey City cat remembers past lives!

Meander - Jersey City cat for adoption
Meander was found weak and hungry, wandering the streets of Jersey City. The thought was that perhaps he was lost and so might be returned home. To determine where that was, we applied Age Regression Therapy. Unfortunately, Meander was too young then now to recall anything like clearly his original location.

When it seemed that the path back in time was blocked, an amazing breakthrough occurred: a veritable tsunami of memories of past lives. The feline consciousness flew to Warhol’s studio, from there to Hemingway’s house in Cuba, next Churchill’s study and then the Lincoln White House. As research continues, through Meander’s recollection, light — albeit a narrow beam — is shining on more and more distant events. We’ve just begun the documentation of his presence in Laketown at the time of the death of Smaug.

If you’d like to continue the saga by providing Meander’s future home (in this life), please do let us know. This remarkable and friendly kitty is seeking adoption by the right person.


At the very first glance, the Gloster Fancy Canary registers as something pleasantly different. The trademark cap, also called the crest or corona, of feathers looks like the canary rendition of the Beatle haircut! The Gloster is also one of the very few miniature breeds of canary. The true enthusiast takes great pride in these diminutive birds.

As with all other crested canaries, the Gloster Fancy is maintained in two phases: the corona and the consort. The corona bird possesses the cap. The consort is plain-headed, just like a common canary. Two crested birds can not be mated together. If this were done, twenty-five percent of the young, on the average, would die in the shell. Crested birds are paired up with the plain-headed consorts. This guarantees full fertility. Half of the nest will have caps, as the crest is a dominant trait.

Canaries are most often seen in two feather types. The hard feathers are brightly colored, sleek birds. The soft feather is of a more subdued color. This soft sort of plumage is also fluffier, giving a more full-bodied appearance. As a rule, canary breeders mate a soft-feathered bird with a hard-feathered. The Gloster Fancy, nearly always a soft-feathered bird, is the exception to the rule. Most often, two soft-feathered Gloster Fancies are paired together. This is called `double buffing.’ This produces canaries of a particularly broad-chested appearance.

Feather lumps are one of the unwanted side effects of double buffing. Sometimes, often in the best birds, a feather will become ingrown. This results in a lump that looks very much like a tumor. Your vet can easily remove the feather lump. Sorry to say, it most often recurs. This is not a life-threatening condition and is easily remedied. It is really not a reason to shy away from this wonderful breed of canary.

The Gloster Fancy is one of the type canary breeds. This means that it is judged at the shows mainly on the basis of body shape and feather quality. Singing ability is completely ignored. As may be expected, the small size of the bird and the shape of the cap are very important. The judge will also be looking for a broad chest and round head. Consorts are also shown.

Pure white, pure yellow, green, blue, brown (called cinnamon by the type canary breeder) and variegated birds are raised and exhibited. The exact color, as far as showing is concerned, is not very important. Pet buyers generally prefer the pure whites, pure yellows, and lightly variegated birds. Very appealing are white or yellow birds with green or brown caps.

The Gloster Fancy is an extremely easy bird to breed. Glosters are very good parents. Indeed, they are often used to feed the young of the more high-strung canary breeds, Frills and Yorkshires. The Yorkshire is one of the giant canary breeds. It is an amusing sight to see the perplexed Gloster hen standing on the tips of her toes to feed a baby Yorkshire that is bigger than she is! Care and feeding are the same as for any other canary breed. The Gloster Fancy is never color fed. The only drawback to the breed is that Glosters are very poor singers. I raised many fertile males that never sang a note.

Lancashire Canary

Gripping the upper perch, in positions assumed in display, are the BELGIAN FANCY (left), with head and neck extended at a sharp angle from the body, and the SCOTCH FANCY, with a smoothly arched exhibition posture. A “mop” of large, flat feathers adorns the crown of the CRESTED CANARY (lower left). Unusually long, wavy, and recurved plumage gives the FRILLED CANARY (lower right) the appearance of having been stroked the wrong way. Dandy of the English canaries, the YORKSHIRE (right center) should be slim, long, and straight as a soldier.

By Alexander Wetmore

Originally appeared in the December 1938 issue of the National Geographic Magazine

The Lancashire canary is the largest of all, being strong and robust and standing a head taller than any of the others. Its size may be appreciated from the painting, in which the crested canary shown is of the Lancashire breed and is appreciably larger than its companions. The largest specimens are more than seven inches in length and are heavy in body, so that they appear as veritable giants when compared with ordinary canaries.

Red Billed Hill Tit

An excellent talker, the WATTLED MYNA (lower left) can learn to enunciate as clearly as the best of the parrots. One of these birds on exhibit at a meeting in Washington. D. C., astonished a former director of the Budget Bureau by greeting him with the words: “How about the appropriation?” The lively, engaging RED-CRESTED CARDINAL (top bird) comes from southern South America. A splendid singer, the sprightly SHAMA THRUSH (white-edged tail) is also something of a mimic. The lowest perched bird is the active. noisy WHITE-EARED BULBUL. “Japanese robin” is one of several misnomers for the warbling RED-BILLED HILL TIT (on ground), a native of China.

By Alexander Wetmore

Originally appeared in the December 1938 issue of the National Geographic Magazine

The sprightly little “Japanese robin” (Leiothrix lutea) is wrongly named, since it is found from southern China to northern India and Burma and does not occur wild in Japan. It is better called the “red-billed hill tit.” It requires soft food, but is hardy and easily handled in cage or in aviary, and pays for its care in its alert, active movements and pleasant warbling songs.