December 6, 2021

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Important for the mystery of the origin of a famous Japanese wolf dogs

Stuffed specimen of Japanese wolf stored at the University of Tokyo College of Agriculture (University of Tokyo).

Legendary Japanese wolf Very close relative to the ancestors of dogs, Than any other population of gray wolves, and may be The key to understanding the appearance of man’s best friendAccording to new research published in Japan.

So far, studies have shown that this is possible Both Eurasian dogs and wolves are separated from a common wolf ancestor, A process took place 20,000 to 40,000 years ago. But since the original gray wolf people are believed to have disappeared, there has been a lot of debate about when and where it happened. There are also various discussions about where and when the animal was first bred.

“Our research helps to infer a different dog lineage from wolves in East Asia.”, Said Yohe Therai, Evolutionary Biologist at the Graduate University for Advanced Studies, who led the research, Japan Times.

According to him Study, Gray wolf extinct people suspected of breeding dogs are closely related to the ancestor of the Japanese wolf (Canis Lupus Hotoflox) and is May have lived in East Asia. The research, published last week, has not yet been reviewed.

A stuffed specimen of the Japanese wolf or yam (mountain dog) is stored at the Natural Biodiversity Center in Leiden, the Netherlands (Natural Biology Center
A stuffed specimen of the Japanese wolf or yam (mountain dog) is stored at the Natural Biodiversity Center in Leiden, the Netherlands (Natural Biology Center

However, Thera warned that this does not mean that dogs were bred in East Asia. “They may have been scattered elsewhere before they came into contact with humans; It’s something we can not know from genetic data, something that requires archaeological evidence. “

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In their research, Therai and his team isolated and sequenced complete genes Nine Japanese wolves and 11 Japanese dogs from the 19th to the 20th centuryIncluding Shiba And this Akita. They then compared their ranks to a wide range of canines from around the world, including modern dogs, dingos, coyotes and various types of wolves. They discovered that the Japanese wolf is a unique subspecies of the gray wolf and is genetically distinct from modern and ancient gray wolves.

The Akito dog is believed to be one of the closest relatives of the Japanese wolf (REUTERS / Thilo Schmuelgen).
The Akito dog is believed to be one of the closest relatives of the Japanese wolf (REUTERS / Thilo Schmuelgen).

But when Therai and his colleagues built evolutionary trees, The Japanese wolf was found to be the closest to dogs among wolves, And they are basically one “Sister Group Relationship” Or they were close relatives of each other.

Genetic contact was particularly evident in Oriental dogs, Including dog Dingo And this New Guinea singing dogAs well as modern Japanese species. On the contrary, Dogs of Western Eurasian descent, especially African dogs, showed little contact with Japanese wolves.

What else, Genetics show that the ancestor of the Japanese wolf passed down with the ancestor of the eastern dogs at least 10,000 years ago. After the separation of the western and eastern Eurasian dog lineages, many modern dogs of Japanese wolf lineage, even western descendants, inherited through historical mixing with their eastern counterparts.

The painting of the captive specimen was probably the only true European representation of the species identified as the Japanese wolf, but "யமைனு" Oh "Mountain dog" (Wikipedia)
The painting of the captive specimen is probably the only true European representation of the species, except that it is undoubtedly identified as a Japanese wolf, “Yamainu” or “Mountain Dog” (Wikipedia)

as a consequence, Up to 5.5% of modern dog genes in Eastern Eurasia are of Japanese wolf lineageAccording to the study.

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While his study suggests that dogs may have strayed from their wolf ancestors in East Asia, Therai wants to analyze ancient bone samples from the region.

Some may be Japanese wolves, others may be close to dogs. And if they are found in archeological sites, it could indicate that they were preserved by humans. “He said Japan Times. “It can give us clues about the origin of dogs and their breeding.”

The story of the Japanese wolf

Considered One of the smallest wolves in the worldThe Japanese wolf once belonged only to the islands Honshu, Shikoku And Kyushu And Disappeared from the archipelago in the early 20th century Humans hunted them down after their population was destroyed by disease and in the name of protecting livestock.

Wolves on the map by Japanese artist Yoshitoshi.  (Wikipedia / Japan print gallery)
Wolves on the map by Japanese artist Yoshitoshi. (Wikipedia / Japan print gallery)

The last known specimen of the animal was purchased by an American researcher Malcolm Playfair Anderson Retired in 1905 in the province of Nara and now London Museum of Natural History. Today, there are museums in Japan and Europe that store samples of animals from which Derai and his colleagues collected DNA samples.

In Japan, even with reports of its tragic fate, the mystery of its true origin, and supposedly modern scenes, this wolf memory is kept alive. Respected in various parts of Japan as a divine ambassador and guardian of agricultural lands, he is one Source of folk tales and myths passed down from generation to generation in rural communities.

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