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Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1038/S41586-020-03082-X

Dire wolves were the last of an ancient New World canid lineage

04 Mar 2021-Nature (Nature Publishing Group)-Vol. 591, Iss: 7848, pp 87-91
Abstract: Dire wolves are considered to be one of the most common and widespread large carnivores in Pleistocene America1, yet relatively little is known about their evolution or extinction. Here, to reconstruct the evolutionary history of dire wolves, we sequenced five genomes from sub-fossil remains dating from 13,000 to more than 50,000 years ago. Our results indicate that although they were similar morphologically to the extant grey wolf, dire wolves were a highly divergent lineage that split from living canids around 5.7 million years ago. In contrast to numerous examples of hybridization across Canidae2,3, there is no evidence for gene flow between dire wolves and either North American grey wolves or coyotes. This suggests that dire wolves evolved in isolation from the Pleistocene ancestors of these species. Our results also support an early New World origin of dire wolves, while the ancestors of grey wolves, coyotes and dholes evolved in Eurasia and colonized North America only relatively recently. Dire wolves split from living canids around 5.7 million years ago and originated in the New World isolated from the ancestors of grey wolves and coyotes, which evolved in Eurasia and colonized North America only relatively recently.

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17 results found

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.CUB.2021.09.059
15 Oct 2021-Current Biology
Abstract: The Sardinian dhole (Cynotherium sardous)1 was an iconic and unique canid species that was endemic to Sardinia and Corsica until it became extinct at the end of the Late Pleistocene.2-5 Given its peculiar dental morphology, small body size, and high level of endemism, several extant canids have been proposed as possible relatives of the Sardinian dhole, including the Asian dhole and African hunting dog ancestor.3,6-9 Morphometric analyses3,6,8-12 have failed to clarify the evolutionary relationship with other canids.We sequenced the genome of a ca-21,100-year-old Sardinian dhole in order to understand its genomic history and clarify its phylogenetic position. We found that it represents a separate taxon from all other living canids from Eurasia, Africa, and North America, and that the Sardinian dhole lineage diverged from the Asian dhole ca 885 ka. We additionally detected historical gene flow between the Sardinian and Asian dhole lineages, which ended approximately 500-300 ka, when the land bridge between Sardinia and mainland Italy was already broken, severing their population connectivity. Our sample showed low genome-wide diversity compared to other extant canids-probably a result of the long-term isolation-that could have contributed to the subsequent extinction of the Sardinian dhole.

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Topics: Sardinian dhole (83%), Population (51%)

14 Citations

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.TREE.2020.10.005
Abstract: The many high-resolution tools that are uniquely applicable to specimens from the Quaternary period (the past ~2.5 Ma) provide an opportunity to cross-validate data and test hypotheses based on the morphology and distribution of fossils. Among these tools is palaeogenomics – the genome-scale sequencing of genetic material from ancient specimens – that can provide direct insight into ecology and evolution, potentially improving the accuracy of inferences about past ecological communities over longer timescales. Palaeogenomics has revealed instances of over- and underestimation of extinct diversity, detected cryptic faunal migration and turnover, allowed quantification of widespread sex biases and sexual dimorphism in the fossil record, revealed past hybridisation events and hybrid individuals, and has highlighted previously unrecognised routes of zoonotic disease transfer.

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8 Citations

Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1093/ZOOLINNEAN/ZLAB022
Abstract: A new medium-sized canid, Eucyon khoikhoi sp. nov., is described from the early Pliocene site of Langebaanweg ‘E’ Quarry (South Africa). It possesses a robust dentition with large upper- and lower-second molars, an m1 talonid without a transverse cristid between the entoconid and the hypoconid, and a well-developed hypoconulid shelf. Our cladistic analysis of the earliest better-known African canini, places E. khoikhoi as the most basal taxon of an African clade composed of E. wokari, ?Nyctereutes barryi, ?Schaeffia mohibi and Schaeffia adusta (living side-striped jackal). We suggest an alternative arrangement for the poorly known East African E. intrepidus from the Late Miocene and E. kuta from the Middle Pliocene. Eucyon intrepidus could belong to the same clade as E. khoikhoi, unlike E. kuta, whose dentition suggests a closer relation with the Lupulella group. Thus, these results support the paraphyly of Eucyon, demonstrating the need for an in-depth review of the genus. Eucyon khoikhoi has a body mass comparable to E. kuta and the European E. debonisi and E. monticinensis. We conclude that E. khoikhoi may have had a comparable role in the ecosystem to the extant hypocarnivorous S. adusta.

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Topics: Eucyon (70%)

3 Citations

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1038/S41598-021-92818-4
29 Jul 2021-Scientific Reports
Abstract: The renowned site of Dmanisi in Georgia, southern Caucasus (ca. 1.8 Ma) yielded the earliest direct evidence of hominin presence out of Africa. In this paper, we report on the first record of a large-sized canid from this site, namely dentognathic remains, referable to a young adult individual that displays hypercarnivorous features (e.g., the reduction of the m1 metaconid and entoconid) that allow us to include these specimens in the hypodigm of the late Early Pleistocene species Canis (Xenocyon) lycaonoides. Much fossil evidence suggests that this species was a cooperative pack-hunter that, unlike other large-sized canids, was capable of social care toward kin and non-kin members of its group. This rather derived hypercarnivorous canid, which has an East Asian origin, shows one of its earliest records at Dmanisi in the Caucasus, at the gates of Europe. Interestingly, its dispersal from Asia to Europe and Africa followed a parallel route to that of hominins, but in the opposite direction. Hominins and hunting dogs, both recorded in Dmanisi at the beginning of their dispersal across the Old World, are the only two Early Pleistocene mammal species with proved altruistic behaviour towards their group members, an issue discussed over more than one century in evolutionary biology.

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Topics: Xenocyon (52%), Early Pleistocene (50%)

2 Citations

Open accessPosted ContentDOI: 10.1101/2021.04.21.440863
22 Apr 2021-bioRxiv
Abstract: AO_SCPLOWBSTRACTC_SCPLOWTime-scaled phylogenetic trees are both an ultimate goal of evolutionary biology and a necessary ingredient in comparative studies. While accumulating genomic data has moved the field closer to a full description of the tree of life, the relative timing of certain evolutionary events remains challenging even when this data is abundant, and absolute timing is impossible without external information such as fossil ages and morphology. The field of phylogenetics lacks efficient tools integrating probabilistic models for these kinds of data into unified frameworks for estimating phylogenies. Here, we implement, benchmark and validate popular phylogenetic models for the study of paleontological and neontological continuous trait data, incorporating these models into the BEAST2 platform. Our methods scale well with number of taxa and of characters. We tip-date and estimate the topology of a phylogeny of Carnivora, comparing results from different configurations of integrative models capable of leveraging ages, as well as molecular and continuous morphological data from living and extinct species. Our results illustrate and advance the paradigm of Bayesian, probabilistic total evidence, in which explanatory models are fully defined, and inferential uncertainty in all their dimensions is accounted for.

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2 Citations


29 results found

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1093/MOLBEV/MSM088
Ziheng Yang1Institutions (1)
Abstract: PAML, currently in version 4, is a package of programs for phylogenetic analyses of DNA and protein sequences using maximum likelihood (ML). The programs may be used to compare and test phylogenetic trees, but their main strengths lie in the rich repertoire of evolutionary models implemented, which can be used to estimate parameters in models of sequence evolution and to test interesting biological hypotheses. Uses of the programs include estimation of synonymous and nonsynonymous rates (d(N) and d(S)) between two protein-coding DNA sequences, inference of positive Darwinian selection through phylogenetic comparison of protein-coding genes, reconstruction of ancestral genes and proteins for molecular restoration studies of extinct life forms, combined analysis of heterogeneous data sets from multiple gene loci, and estimation of species divergence times incorporating uncertainties in fossil calibrations. This note discusses some of the major applications of the package, which includes example data sets to demonstrate their use. The package is written in ANSI C, and runs under Windows, Mac OSX, and UNIX systems. It is available at -- (

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Topics: Phylogenetic network (61%), Ancestral reconstruction (56%), Phylogenetic tree (53%) ... read more

9,005 Citations

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1534/GENETICS.112.145037
Nick Patterson1, Priya Moorjani2, Yontao Luo3, Swapan Mallick2  +6 moreInstitutions (3)
01 Nov 2012-Genetics
Abstract: Population mixture is an important process in biology. We present a suite of methods for learning about population mixtures, implemented in a software package called ADMIXTOOLS, that support formal tests for whether mixture occurred and make it possible to infer proportions and dates of mixture. We also describe the development of a new single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array consisting of 629,433 sites with clearly documented ascertainment that was specifically designed for population genetic analyses and that we genotyped in 934 individuals from 53 diverse populations. To illustrate the methods, we give a number of examples that provide new insights about the history of human admixture. The most striking finding is a clear signal of admixture into northern Europe, with one ancestral population related to present-day Basques and Sardinians and the other related to present-day populations of northeast Asia and the Americas. This likely reflects a history of admixture between Neolithic migrants and the indigenous Mesolithic population of Europe, consistent with recent analyses of ancient bones from Sweden and the sequencing of the genome of the Tyrolean "Iceman."

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Topics: Genetic admixture (61%), Population (57%)

1,406 Citations

Open accessBook
15 Oct 1980-
Topics: Platygonus (64%), Homotherium (62%), Pleistocene (59%) ... read more

907 Citations

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1093/MOLBEV/MSS086
Abstract: The multispecies coalescent provides an elegant theoretical framework for estimating species trees and species demographics from genetic markers. However, practical applications of the multispecies coalescent model are limited by the need to integrate or sample over all gene trees possible for each genetic marker. Here we describe a polynomial-time algorithm that computes the likelihood of a species tree directly from the markers under a finite-sites model of mutation effectively integrating over all possible gene trees. The method applies to independent (unlinked) biallelic markers such as well-spaced single nucleotide polymorphisms, and we have implemented it in SNAPP, a Markov chain Monte Carlo sampler for inferring species trees, divergence dates, and population sizes. We report results from simulation experiments and from an analysis of 1997 amplified fragment length polymorphism loci in 69 individuals sampled from six species of Ourisia (New Zealand native foxglove).

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Topics: Coalescent theory (62%), Population (53%)

643 Citations

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1093/CZOOLO/61.5.854
Ziheng Yang1, Ziheng Yang2Institutions (2)
01 Oct 2015-Current Zoology
Abstract: This paper provides an overview and a tutorial of the BPP program, which is a Bayesian MCMC program for analyzing multi-locus genomic sequence data under the multispecies coalescent model. An example dataset of five nuclear loci from the East Asian brown frogs is used to illustrate four different analyses, including estimation of species divergence time and population size parameters under the multispecies coalescent model on a fixed species phylogeny (A00), species tree estimation when the assignment and species delimitation are fixed (A01), species delimitation using a fixed guide tree (A10), and joint species delimitation and species-tree estimation or unguided species delimitation (A11). For the joint analysis (A11), two new priors are introduced, which assign uniform probabilities for the different numbers of delimited species, which may be useful when assignment, species delimitation, and species phylogeny are all inferred in one joint analysis. The paper ends with a discussion of the assumptions, the strengths and weaknesses of the BPP analysis [Current Zoology 61 (5) : – , 2015 ].

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Topics: Coalescent theory (54%)

434 Citations

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