The story of animal domestication has both fascinated and confused zoologists and archaeologists alike for the best part of 150 years, with none other than Charles Darwin being one of the first to recognise the set of uniquely shared phenotypes present from pigeons to cows! Of all the domesticates, one of the most iconic is the dog - being both the earliest and also the only one to evolve with hunter-gather communities during the late Pleistocene.  Although over the last 50 or so years more ink has been spilled exploring its origins than any other domestic taxa, simple questions of when and where (let alone how or why) wolves became dogs remain largely enigmatic.  In the recent decade, new approaches (mainly those of genetics and morphometrics) have begun to piece together a more complex and nuanced tale, but one that is still far from complete. In this seminar I will share some of the key results of an ongoing international and multidisciplinary project, which has some new things to share about the origins of dogs and their dispersal with human groups both in the Old and New Worlds, and later across the Arctic.

About the presenter

Professor Keith Dobney has recently taken up the position of Head of School, Philosophical and Historical Inquiries at the University of Sydney.  Previously the Head of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology (ACE) at the University of Liverpool, he retains a 0.2FTE Professorial research post within ACE, where he continues to supervise PhD students and act as Co-I on existing research projects.  His main research focus is past human-animal interactions, undertaking major international projects exploring pig and dog domestication, commensalism, dispersal, as well as recent work on ancient diet, palaeomicrobiomes, human spinal health and even the wartime heritage of Orkney. For the last 30 years, he’s been actively involved in bioarchaeological research in Britain, the Middle East, Central Asia and Central America, and since 2000, has developed international collaborative research in East Asia, Oceania and Alaska.

About Archaeology Working Papers

The Working Papers in Archaeology seminar series provides a forum for dissemination of archaeological research and ideas amongst UQ archaeology students and staff. All students are invited to attend the series and postgraduate students, from honours upwards, are invited to present their research. The aim is to provide opportunities for students, staff and those from outside UQ, to present and discuss their work in an informal environment. It is hoped that anyone interested in current archaeological directions, both within and outside the School and University, will be able to attend and contribute to the series.