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The identity of the dingo canis familiaris dingo 2. hybridization with domestic dogs in captivity and in the wild

The identity of the dingo canis familiaris dingo 2. hybridization with domestic dogs in captivity and in the wild

Australian Journal of Zoology 30(2): 365-374

The possibility that wild canids in southeastern Australia were hybrids of C. f. dingo and C. f. familiaris was examined by breeding known hybrids in captivity and comparing 8 skull measurements in canonical analyses. The resulting distribution of the known hybrids was mainly intermediate to but overlapping those of the calibrating samples of dingoes and dogs whose distributions were separate. The distribution of the unknown wild canids closely resembled that of the known hybrids. An extra sample of wild dingoes resembled the calibrating dingoes. Comparisons with 95% population confidence limits of calibrating samples classified 12% of unknowns as dogs, 52% as hybrids and 36% as dingoes. The similarities of known hybrids and wild unknowns resulted from different assemblages of skull characters, but the 2 prime characters in the discrimination, bulla volume and alveolar distance of P1 to P4, were commonly reduced in size in both groups. Maxillary width was dog-like in the unknowns but dingo-like in known hybrids. In the latter, increase in domestic dog ancestry caused an increase in the rate of change of skull morphology; but even so small an ancestry as 0.125-0.25 domestic dog caused marked changes compared with the 8 parental dingoes. There was also evidence of skull changes due to the domestication process. The most indicative was foreshortening of the alveolar distance from P1 to P4 found in 34 of the 41 known hybrids and in 4 of the 8 parental dingoes. There was no evidence for inheritance of the trait.

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