Genomics Intelligent Design

Bones of contention: A new clue as to how dogs got to the Americas

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This bone fragment, found in Southeast Alaska, belongs to a dog that lived about 10,150 years ago, a study concludes. Credit: Douglas Levere / University at Buffalo

From an ancient fragment of bone:

The research reports that a bone fragment found in Southeast Alaska belongs to a dog that lived in the region about 10,150 years ago. Scientists say the remains—a piece of a femur—represent the oldest confirmed remains of a domestic dog in the Americas…

Researchers analyzed the dog’s mitochondrial genome, and concluded that the animal belonged to a lineage of dogs whose evolutionary history diverged from that of Siberian dogs as early as 16,700 years ago. The timing of that split coincides with a period when humans may have been migrating into North America along a coastal route that included Southeast Alaska…

The research adds depth to the layered history of how dogs came to populate the Americas. As Lindqvist notes, canines did not arrive all at once. For example, some Arctic dogs arrived later from East Asia with the Thule culture, while Siberian huskies were imported to Alaska during the Gold Rush. Other dogs were brought to the Americas by European colonizers.

The new study sharpens the debate on dog and human migration into the Americas.

“Our early dog from Southeast Alaska supports the hypothesis that the first dog and human migration occurred through the Northwest Pacific coastal route instead of the central continental corridor, which is thought to have become viable only about 13,000 years ago,” Coelho notes.

Charlotte Hsu, University at Buffalo, “How did dogs get to the Americas? An ancient bone fragment holds clues” at

The paper is open access.

9 Replies to “Bones of contention: A new clue as to how dogs got to the Americas

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    I wish they’d give up the Bering Bridge. It was NOT NECESSARY. Ice joins America to Siberia in colder periods, and ice can be walked on. When you look at a map centered on the North Pole, it’s clear that simple rafts would be enough for humans to circle the globe in summer.

  2. 2
    BobRyan says:

    10,000 years ago, give or take a few hundred years, the last Great Ice Age was still around. About half the planet was covered in ice. There wouldn’t have been much of anything living as far north as Alaska. At the time, Zealandia was mostly above water, which is the 8th continent. Most of Zealandia is currently under the water. When the Great Ice Age came to an end, the water started to melt and has been melting ever since.

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    News, nope. As soon as Adam left Eden, he had Eve at his side and Fido at his heel. The man-dog bond is likely part of the core of our humanity. I cannot believe any significant human population was dog-less. I think I need to ask Ms Foxy to tell me her thoughts when I go by my bakers later. I swear she understands English and answers with her eyes. KF

  4. 4
    kairosfocus says:

    BR, actually, Greenland, Iceland and Antarctica beg to differ, the Ice age is in abeyance but not over. KF

  5. 5
    JVL says:

    BobRyan: the water started to melt . .

    That I would like to see.

  6. 6
    ET says:

    Well, JVL, according to some evos hail is water.

  7. 7
    asauber says:

    I want more cat-centric posts. 😉


  8. 8
    Pearlman says:

    Mid The ice ages (1657-1996 anno-mundi) 1948 birth of Abraham calibrates to at least ’20k’ current consensus YA, so EVEN ’17K’ within 5 decades of the start of the dispersion from Bavel if they at least have the relative dating correct. reference the YeC Moshe Emes series for Torah and science alignment.

  9. 9
    LoneCycler says:

    Asauber @ 7 O/T but cats also have a long association with humans. See here

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