This finding puts the first known domestication — that of dogs — in the same place as the domestication of plants and other animals, and strengthens the link between the first animal to enter human society and the subsequent invention of agriculture about 10,000 years ago.
A Middle Eastern origin for the dog also fits in better with the archaeological evidence, and has enabled geneticists to reconstruct the entire history of the dog, from the first association between wolves and hunter gatherers some 20,000 years ago to the creation by Victorian dog fanciers of many of today’s breeds.
A research team led by Bridgett M. vonHoldt and Robert K. Wayne of the University of California, Los Angeles, has analyzed a large collection of wolf and dog genomes from around the world. Scanning for similar runs of DNA, the researchers found that the Middle East was where wolf and dog genomes were most similar, although there was another area of overlap between East Asian wolves and dogs. Wolves were probably first domesticated in the Middle East, but after dogs had spread to East Asia there was a crossbreeding that injected more wolf genes into the dog genome, the researchers conclude in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature.
The archaeological evidence supports this idea, since some of the earliest dog remains have been found in the Middle East, dating from 12,000 years ago. The only earlier doglike remains occur in Belgium, at a site 31,000 years old, and in western Russia from 15,000 years ago.
Humans lived as roaming hunters and gatherers for most of their existence. Dr. Wayne believes that wolves began following hunter-gatherer bands to feed on the wounded prey, carcasses or other refuse. At some stage a group of wolves, who happened to be smaller and less threatening than most, developed a dependency on human groups, and may in return have provided a warning system.
Several thousand years later, in the first settled communities that began to appear in the Middle East 15,000 years ago, people began intervening in the breeding patterns of their camp followers, turning them into the first proto-dogs. One of the features they selected was small size, continuing the downsizing of the wolf body plan. “I think a long history such as that would explain how a large carnivore, which can eat you, eventually became stably incorporated in human society,” Dr. Wayne said.
The wolf DNA in the study was collected over many years by Dr. Wayne from wolf packs around the world. A colleague, Elaine Ostrander, gathered much of the dog DNA by persuading owners at dog shows to let her take a scraping of cells from inside the cheek. The dog genome has been decoded twice: scientists at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass., have sequenced the boxer’s genome, and Craig Venter, a pioneer of DNA sequencing, has decoded his poodle’s genome.
With these two genomes in hand, the Broad Institute designed a dog SNP chip, similar to those used to scan the human for genetic disease. SNPs, or “snips,” are sites of common variation along the DNA. Affymetrix, a SNP chip maker, manufactured the dog SNP chip for Dr. Wayne’s team, letting him have 1,000 chips free, though thereafter they cost $250 apiece. The dog SNP chip brought to light the close relationship between dogs and wolves in the Middle East and also the genetic relationship between various breeds.
Dr. Wayne was surprised to find that all the herding dogs grouped together, as did all the sight hounds and the scent hounds, making a perfect match between dogs’ various functions and the branches on the genetic tree. “I thought there would be many ways to build a herding dog and that they’d come from all over the tree, but there are not,” Dr. Wayne said.
His team has also used the dog SNP chip to scan for genes that show signatures of selection. One such favored dog gene has a human counterpart that has been implicated in Williams syndrome, where it causes exceptional gregariousness. Another two selected genes are involved in memory. Dogs, unlike wolves, are adept at taking cues from human body language, and the two genes could have something to do with this faculty, Dr. Wayne said.
An earlier survey of dog origins, based on a small genetic element known as mitochondrial DNA, concluded that dogs had been domesticated, probably just once, in East Asia. The author of the survey, Peter Savolainen of the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, said he was not convinced by the new report for several reasons, including that it did not sample dogs in East Asia from south of the Yangtze, the region where the diversity of mitochondrial DNA is highest. Also archaeologists in China have been less interested in distinguishing dog and wolf remains, he said.
Two other experts on dog genetics, Carlos Driscoll and Stephen O’Brien, of the National Cancer Institute, said they believed that Dr. Wayne’s team had made a convincing case. “I think they have nailed the locale of dog domestication to the Middle East,” Dr. O’Brien said in an e-mail message from Siberia, where he is attending a tiger management workshop.
Dog domestication and human settlement occurred at the same time, some 15,000 years ago, raising the possibility that dogs may have had a complex impact on the structure of human society. Dogs could have been the sentries that let hunter gatherers settle without fear of surprise attack. They may also have been the first major item of inherited wealth, preceding cattle, and so could have laid the foundations for the gradations of wealth and social hierarchy that differentiated settled groups from the egalitarianism of their hunter-gatherer predecessors. Notions of inheritance and ownership, Dr. Driscoll said, may have been prompted by the first dogs to permeate human society, laying an unexpected track from wolf to wealth."
"In the region of Jarmo (Iraq), since the period of Stone Age, there were findings of small fragments of ceramic which resembled dogs with curled tails. The oldest of these figures were found 6500 years B.C. They also found bone fossils but in general they seemed to be remains of wolves.
All this seems to indicate that man did not domesticate the dog until after surviving the glacier conditions, could be approximately 8000 years B.C. Therefore, the dog might have been the second domesticated animal in history, since the sheep was first. Findings have been found in Zawi Chemi Shandir, north of Iraq, that sheep had been domesticated 9000 yrs. B.C."
Excerpted from http://anthropology.tamu.edu/papers/Raisor-PhD2004.pdf, this report seems to give some evidence to both folklore and theory that the Turkish Dogs were bred from a type of Huge Wolf now extinct. And it also gives historical verification of the presence of the HUGE dogs in the region far longer than claimed by some, and disputes the claim that the Boz MUST have English Mastiff bred into them to get their size. Jarmo was a city of the Halaf People of the Kurdish areas to include the Taurus Mountains from where the Boz come.
"Iraq. At Jarmo, Iraq in the Zagras Mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan, over 50 cranial and mandibular fragments of domestic dogs were discovered. The mound was dated from 8500 to 9000 BP. Lawrence and Reed (1983) examined the skeletal fragments and did a comparative study to Canis lupus pallipes as well as Eskino dogs, Kurdish dog and the prehistoric dog from Jaguar Cave, Idaho.
The Jarmo site was of particular importance since it is one of the oldest known agriculteral communities to be excavated. The site displayed evidence of permanent stone and mud-walled houses and numerous artifacts, which have been interpreted to indicate that the community relied on farming and herding for subsistance. The discover of dogs at this site was considered to be significant archaeological evidence of dog domestication since it coincided with the numerous pig, sheep, and goat remains that were found.
Lawrence and Reed (1983:486) observed that the fragments appeared to be unusually massive. Tooth measurements revealed that the Jarmo dogs were more similar to the Eskimo dogs and fell at or below the lowest range for C.l. pallipes. The authors further reported that the sagittal and occipital crests had a pronounced downward curve that matched the Eskimo dogs. The maxillary teeth were slightly small in size with a curvature of the tooth row, which suggested a domestic dog. The most pronounces characteristic of the Jarmo samples in the mandible, which Lawrence and Reed state is very close in size to the big-toothes, massive skulled breeds such as mastiff or Eskimo dog.
The authors (Lawrence and Reed 1983:488) concluded that the Jarmo sample may be evidence of hybridization or an extreme form of lupus. However the also hypothesize that the Jarmo dogs may be derived form a local race of wolves, which may explain some of the differences seen in this sample which is not typically seen in other domestic dog samples."
"(In Ancient Khuzistan.) The dogs depicted on ceramics from both sites closely resemble the ubiquitous guard dogs seen in villiages and camps today, a form and size not to far removed from wolves. Their domestic status is implied by the up-turned curly tail and short snout, traits not present in modern wolves.
We presume that by 5,500 BC in Khuzistan, candids resembling the KURDISH Guard Dog were already inhabiting the early dump-heaps of our early villiages. In all probability they were decendents of the local wild Canis lupas pallipes, who had been allowed by the local villagers to become semi-domestic scavengers."
-- I disagree with the presumption that they were just scavengers due to the morphological changes and differences present that persist to today. To me, this signifies selective pressures of man. Being that sheep and goats were being domesticated and herded, I would presume that the dogs that happen to resemble the same dogs of today preformed the same function as Livestock Guardians.
Also, in many of the archeological sites of the region, Canine bones described as HUGE, were presumed to be of some type of large local wolf, as no dogs of this size are represented in the archeological record. Canine bones smaller than the wolf are a criteria used to define domestication by the archeologist. That was a solid theory or tool until the huge bones of the Halaf or Kurdish areas in the Taurus and Zargos Mountians were discovered. At first they were asumed to be wolf, until skull and jaw bones showed them to be of a domestic dog strongly resembling the dogs present in the same region today.
"The fact that Halaf culture spread so rapidly over such a considerable distance across the rugged Kurdish mountains is thought to have been the result of the development of a new life style and economic activity necessitating mobility, namely nomadic herding. All of the pre-requisite technologies had been developed, and essential animals, particularly the dog, had been domesticated by settled agriculturalists. Halafian figures of dogs (ca. 6000 BC) with upcurled tails unlike that of any specie of wolf, were unearthed in Jarmo in central Kurdistan. They provide the earliest definitive evidence of the development of man's "best friend" and the herder's most prized protection. Nomadic herding has since been a very mobile cornerstone of Zagros-Taurus cultures and societies."
"Origins of the Gampr: The origins of the gampr sprung from the Armenian Plateau, one of the cradles of civilization. Archeological excavations in the Hrazdan Valley, near Bjini, uncovered human skeletal remains dating to 1-2 million BC. Wide ranging habitation by humans begin around 500,000 BC with the first discovered human settlements around 90,000 BC. Domesticated agriculture and livestock in Armenia dates back as early as 25,000 BC, roughly 10,000 years before discovered domestication in other areas of the Near East. At the same time, evidence of the domestication of dogs is shown on prehistoric carvings. Unlike the domestication of other animals as well - horses, cats, birds, cattle, even lynxes and other wild creatures, the dog was unique, having a special place in the home as well as in the field, accompanying its master in work, play and battle.
Early Recordings and Development: No one knows for sure the exact time when the gampr was domesticated, early sources are quite unclear on this account, often bickering among themselves to prove an academic point. While there is a huge diversity among the endemic species dating back tens of thousand of years, the prototype of the modern gampr was formed 3000 years ago. Petroglyphs found in the Armenian Plateau, beginning ca. 15,000-12,000 BC, show a large number and variety of dog types, providing a record of development. Of the hundreds of petroglyphs found at Ughtasar and on the Geghama mountain range, up to 20% of the carvings resemble the modern gampr, while others show a remarkable diversity of dog that no longer exists.
A monograph by S. Dal, "Sevan plateau's transcaucasian shepherd dog, 1millenium st. A monograph by S. Dal, "Sevan plateau's transcaucasian shepherd dog, 1millenium BC" st described the results of an excavation conducted in 1954 by Lake Sevan. In the excavation site dating approx. 800 - 1000 BC, they found a well preserved dog skeleton in one of the tombs. By comparing the skull with the head of a modern gampr and other canines, Dal concluded that it was a then typical representative of the breed, although there are some marked differences from the modern type, like longer head-face, narrower head box and stronger teeth."
--Just a note for speculation, the Boz are noted for having a long narrow head, much like a "Race Horse". I have no ability to compare the teeth between the Gampr and what are now called the Boz. I feel that the Gampr, and specifically the Palace Gampr, have a strong likelyhood of being related to the Guregh or Boz. The Gampr range from the "Kars type" with long hair mostly in Eastern Turkey, to some that strongly resemble the Boz.
"Over time, the gampr lost its footing in Turkish favor, and beginning with the Armenian genocide in 1915, much of the breed disappeared in Turk inhabited areas, but persevered in the regions inhabited by Kurds, who were mostly engaged in sheep herding.
The most characteristic feature of gampr is his temperament that is remarkable for its
Simple Reflexes: Compared to contemporary dog breeds, the gampr has very straightforward reflexes that are more typical of wild animals. This simplicity is nothing less then the concentration and crystallization of features of a "super dog".
Stable Nervous System: Nothing seems to surprise a gampr, it has 'seen everything and is ready for anything'. They welcome change and take it with calm and sanguine curiosity. The most serious-minded gampr, before attacking an intruder, will always try to make sure that the danger is present and clear. There are no 'mad' gamprs: the mad ones are more vulnerable, and evolution wiped them out.
Independent Decision-Making: Life is hard and full of challenges that require quick and correct reaction. In the course of its long history, the gampr has learned this lesson well, since the "all powerful" master was not around all the time."
"For millennia large mammalian carnivores, including the Caspian tiger (Panthera tigris virgata), Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica), brown bear (Ursus arctos), gray wolf (Canis lupus), striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) and three subspecies of leopard (Panthera pardus tulliana, P.p. saxicolor and P.p. ciscaucasica) roamed mountains, plateaus and grasslands of Turkey, historically known as Asia Minor or Anatolia. Of the big cats, only the leopard and Eurasian lynx remain in increasingly isolated mountainous habitats. Evidence suggests a few leopards remain in Turkey's Black Sea mountain ranges and the inaccessible peaks of the Taurus Mountains in the south."
"ISTANBUL -- When Ahmet Caliskan shot a 143-pound leopard that had attacked his neighbor in the western Turkish village of Bagozu in January 1974, many assumed it was the last of its kind.
Conservation biologist Emre Can thinks that's not true. But he knows time is short if Turkey's biggest cat -- listed on the World Conservation Union's "Red List" as critically endangered -- is to be documented in the wild.
A specialist on big carnivores, Mr. Can began hearing rumors of Anatolian leopards -- slightly bulkier than their African cousins -- while working on a countrywide study of the wolf population in 1998.
Since then, he says, the leopard has been driven close to extinction.
"Two wild boar kills I investigated in the Taurus Mountains in 2001 were almost certainly the work of a leopard," he said. "After that, nothing."
But that wasn't the end of sightings. In 2003, one of Mr. Can's colleagues photographed the pelt of a leopard a hunter had shot near Lake Van, in Turkey's mountainous southeast. Mr. Can has since received a handful of what he calls "reliable" reports.
The evidence has been enough for Turkey's foremost nature conservation groups, Doga Dernegi (DD). When it began its campaign in June to halt extinctions in Turkey, one of the world's most biodiverse temperate countries, a leopard survey was second on its list of 10 priorities.
Budgeted at $56,500, the one-year project is still awaiting funding. DD director Guven Eken hopes Mr. Can will be able to do the feasibility study this fall and start the real work of detailed surveying and placing camera traps in the spring.
"It's very wild down there, and the area we've investigated so far is a negligible part of the animal's possible range," he said. "I'm confident we will find something, even if it's only one pair or two." Proving the existence of the leopards, he said, "would be a milestone in the history of Turkish wildlife conservation. The animal would be a perfect flagship species for the country."
Even more than Anatolian lions and tigers, which were wiped out in the 19th century and the 1970s, respectively, leopards have cast a long shadow over Anatolian history.
At Catalhoyuk, a 9000-year-old town in central Anatolia that is considered one of the most sophisticated Neolithic sites uncovered, leopards are by far the most popular subject of murals and sculptures.
Half-buried stone traps near the summits of Turkey's southern Taurus Mountains attest to the leopard's popularity in the Roman arena.
Resat Yilmaz, meanwhile, has more personal reasons for hoping that a big cat makes an appearance in southeast Turkey. A former mayor of Bagozu, and a friend of Mr. Caliskan, who died in the 1990s, he was one of the men who beat the leopard up toward the hunter's waiting gun in 1974.
"It took him eight bullets to bring the beast down, the last one at point-blank range," Mr. Yilmaz remembers, standing in the scrubby oak forest where the animal was brought down.
"When I reached him, he was stroking the dead beast's head, petrified. Neither of us knew what it was. He regretted shooting it for the rest of his life.""
"The wild life in the Taurus Mountains is lively, there are: brown bears, lynxes, wild boars, wolves, chamois, wild goats, deer’s and, mouflon sheep."
"Grazing soon exhausts the sparse natural vegetationof the steppe, so the flocks travel great distances at times. Often they have to seek higher and even higher ground in summer, till the early snows drive them down again. In this lonely roaming life the dogs are often the shepherds only companions for long periods, with not a tree or rock for shelter in all weathers. The shepherds' can be seen standing leaning on their crooks wrapped up in fabulous thick wool felt cloaks that keep out heat and cold, dust and rain. Turkish sheep bunch together naturally and have little if any inclination to scatter, an adaptation perhaps to the various predators about. These include wolves, eagles and the very common jackals, and of course sheep-stealers and cattle-thieves. There is also a large species of wild cat in the southern mountains called the Taurus Lion. The dogs do not herd the sheep but patrol around them, often seeking higher ground to get a better view, and a breeze. The sheep tend to follow the shepherd and the dogs patrol the ground ahead, checking out every bush and irregularity of the terrain for potential trouble. Should they notice anything, even a moving car, they will silently at first, split up and converge upon it from all sides at great speed. These ambush tactics are inborn and quite fascinating to watch, an unforgettable experience to be so treated.
In Turkey there are no fences so the numerous dogs have to respect little children, young lambs and other forms of domestic life. But when strangers arrive, fierce barking breaks out and the visitor's stand rooted to the ground until someone tells the dogs it is all right. The dogs are also called Lion Dogs (Aslan Kopek) and Wolf Dog (Kurt Kopek) but the universal name for these dogs is 'Coban Kopegi' (Shepherd Dog). The tawny coat is more prominent, but by no means universal. Splashes of white particularly on the legs are common, as also are dogs with coats of white with brown/black patches; even wholly white and wholly black specimens are seen. The various shades of dun, from cream to red-brown, blend well with the terrain."
Please reference http://www.saluqi.net/id19.html. Tazi in Historical Boz Guregh lands. I feel that Boz have Tazi genetics that has increased their speed and edurance, as well as shaped their structure and square profile.