Dingos evolved from domesticated Indonesian village dogs

Published: 2020-02-17


According to a study, led by SciLifeLab researcher Peter Savolainen (KTH), the Australian dingo derives from domesticated dogs. Scientists have long suspected this but up until now, no genomic studies to confirm the hypothesis have been conducted. Their migration to Australia began 9,900 years ago when they split off from their ancestors, the Indonesian village dog.

“Our analyses of phylogeny, population structure, and demography as well as selection analysis, show that the dingo is a genetically distinct population clearly differentiated from the domestic dog. Genes related to behaviour, food digestion and reproduction have evolved in order to adapt dingoes to living in the wild instead of together with humans.” says Peter  Savolainen in a news article from KTH.

Earlier studies have confirmed the connection between Southeast Asian domestic dogs and the dingo but the timing of the split and migration route has remained unknown. According to the study, published in Nature Communications, the migration started around 9,900 years ago which was followed by a 8,000-year feralization when the dogs reached Australia.