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Dingo - Canis dingo

EXCLUSIVE: AWC footage of a dingo hunting a feral pig. As far as we know, the first footage of its kind. Showcases important ecological role of the dingo. Filmed just outside the boundary of Pungalina-Seven Emu in a remote area near the Gulf of Carpentaria coast. WARNING: the hunting footage may upset some viewers.
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Genetic study uncovers evolutionary history of dingoes

October 31, 2017 by Deborah Smith

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Pure dingoes come in a variety of colours including ginger, black and tan, and white and sable. Credit: Lyn Watson/Australian Dingo Foundation.

A major study of dingo DNA has revealed dingoes most likely migrated to Australia in two separate waves via a former land bridge with Papua New Guinea.
The find has significant implications for conservation, with researchers recommending the two genetically distinct populations of dingoes – in the south-east and north-west of the country – be treated as different groups for management and conservation purposes.
"Care should be taken not to move dingoes between the different wild populations," says study first author and UNSW Sydney scientist Dr Kylie Cairns. "And captive breeding programs should ensure the two dingo populations are maintained separately, with genetic testing used to identify ancestry."
Dr Cairns says there is also an urgent need to prevent further inter-breeding between domestic dogs and the south-eastern population of dingoes, which is threatened by genetic dilution, habitat loss and lethal control measures such as baiting and the recently reintroduced wild dog bounty in Victoria.
"Effective containment or neutering of male dogs in rural areas may help achieve this reduction in inter-breeding," says Dr Cairns, of the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences.
"Additionally, baiting and culling practices break apart dingo packs, leading to increased incidences of hybridisation. Alternative livestock protection measures need to be explored, such as livestock guardians, predator deterrents and improved dingo-proof fencing," she says.
The study, by scientists from UNSW and the University of California, is published in the journal Ecology and Evolution.
It is the first broad study of the evolutionary history of dingoes around Australia using both mitochondrial and Y-chromosome genetic markers.
The researchers sampled 127 dingoes across Australia as well as five New Guinea Singing Dogs from a North American captive population. A dataset of Y chromosome and mitochondrial control region data from 173 male dogs, including 94 dingoes, was also used.
Only genetically pure dingoes were included in the study.
The north-western population is found in Western Australia, the Northern Territory, northern parts of South Australia, and central and northern Queensland.
The south-eastern population is found in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and southern parts of Queensland (including Fraser Island).
The researchers believe the two groups may have migrated separately from Papua New Guinea over the now-flooded land bridge as long as 8000 to 10,000 years ago.
Particularly in south-eastern states, they recommend a broad survey of dingoes in national parks and state forests be carried out to focus conservation efforts in key areas, and also that state and federal legislation allowing fatal control measures be reviewed.

Journal Reference:
Kylie M. Cairns et al. Conservation implications for dingoes from the maternal and paternal genome: Multiple populations, dog introgression, and demography, Ecology and Evolution (2017). DOI: 10.1002/ece3.3487

It is increasingly common for apex predators to face a multitude of complex conservation issues. In Australia, dingoes are the mainland apex predator and play an important role in ecological functioning. Currently, however, they are threatened by hybridization with modern domestic dogs in the wild. As a consequence, we explore how increasing our understanding of the evolutionary history of dingoes can inform management and conservation decisions. Previous research on whole mitochondrial genome and nuclear data from five geographical populations showed evidence of two distinct lineages of dingo. Here, we present data from a broader survey of dingoes around Australia using both mitochondrial and Y chromosome markers and investigate the timing of demographic expansions. Biogeographic data corroborate the presence of at least two geographically subdivided genetic populations, southeastern and northwestern. Demographic modeling suggests that dingoes have undergone population expansion in the last 5,000 years. It is not clear whether this stems from expansion into vacant niches after the extinction of thylacines on the mainland or indicates the arrival date of dingoes. Male dispersal is much more common than female, evidenced by more diffuse Y haplogroup distributions. There is also evidence of likely historical male biased introgression from domestic dogs into dingoes, predominately within southeastern Australia. These findings have critical practical implications for the management and conservation of dingoes in Australia; particularly a focus must be placed upon the threatened southeastern dingo population.;jsessionid=58BA6DCCC98E681FC28093FD65317FA7.f03t02 
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Mesopredator Wrote:

Here's something I found and remembered because of the feral pig hunting video above.

Mauro20 Wrote:Chow chows, akitas and shar-peis are closer to dingoes than to, let's say, a golden retriever or a German shepherd.

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Source: here.

Yet no one says we should split domestic dogs into different species. I still think the dingo is just a feral domestic dog... Taxonomists are always changing their minds.
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Dingoes may provide clues to understanding how Australia evolved

July 20, 2018, University of Western Australia

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Credit: University of Western Australia

Researchers from The University of Western Australia and the Australian National University have uncovered new evidence that suggests dingoes arrived in Australia between 3,348 and 3,081 years ago, more recently than previously thought.

By the time Europeans came to Australia, Aboriginal people had a well-established relationship with dingoes that provided warmth, protection and assistance with hunting.

A more precise date for the arrival of dingoes in Australia is important as it answers questions about the relationship between dingoes and Aboriginal people and the dingoes' possible contribution to the extinction of animals such as the Tasmanian devil and Tasmanian tiger on mainland Australia.

The timing of the arrival of dingoes has been the subject of great debate over the years, with estimates ranging from about 4000 years ago based on archaeological deposit dates to as much as 18,000 years ago based on DNA age estimates.

Now direct dates on dingo bones from Madura Cave on the Nullarbor Plain in southern Australia have allowed scientists to paint a clearer picture of when dingoes first inhabited Australia.

Lead researcher Professor Jane Balme from UWA said the scientists had used a precise radiocarbon dating technique to date the bones uncovered from Madura Cave which provides the most accurate indication of dingo arrival in Australia to date.

"The dingo is the only placental land mammal aside from rats, mice and bats to have made it over water to reach Australia prior to European arrival and their arrival provides the only evidence of external visits by people to mainland Australia after first Indigenous settlement 65,000 years ago," Professor Balme said.

"Because Australia is separated from Southeast Asia by water, with the minimal distance between the two more than 90 kilometres, it is extremely unlikely that dingoes arrived in Australia independently of humans," Professor Balme said.

"These new findings indicate it is most likely that dingoes were brought here as tamed animals around 3000 years ago."

Professor Balme said the research also suggested dingoes had spread far more rapidly than previously thought.

"This may have been facilitated by their strong relationship with humans and may have contributed to the extinction of a number of species including the Tasmanian devil and Tasmania tiger on mainland Australia because of the increased hunting pressure," she said.

Professor Balme said the next step would be to examine bone fossils from archaeological and palaeontological sites to identify how dingoes may have changed people's subsistence activities and the impact that dingoes have had on the Australian environment.

"We have made a start on this by dating of dingo bones from the Nullarbor but analysis of dingo bones from other parts of Australia will help test our hypothesis of their rapid rate of spread."

The research will be published in Scientific Reports.

Journal Reference:
Jane Balme et al. New dates on dingo bones from Madura Cave provide oldest firm evidence for arrival of the species in Australia, Scientific Reports (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-28324-x

The dingo is the only placental land mammal aside from murids and bats to have made the water crossings to reach Australia prior to European arrival. It is thought that they arrived as a commensal animal with people, some time in the mid Holocene. However, the timing of their arrival is still a subject of major debate with published age estimates varying widely. This is largely because the age estimates for dingo arrival are based on archaeological deposit dates and genetic divergence estimates, rather than on the dingo bones themselves. Currently, estimates vary from between 5000–4000 years ago, for finds from archaeological contexts, and as much as 18,000 based on DNA age estimates. The timing of dingo arrival is important as post arrival they transformed Indigenous societies across mainland Australia and have been implicated in the extinction of a number of animals including the Tasmanian tiger. Here we present the results of direct dating of dingo bones from their oldest known archaeological context, Madura Cave on the Nullarbor Plain. These dates demonstrate that dingoes were in southern Australia by between 3348 and 3081 years ago. We suggest that following their introduction the dingo may have spread extremely rapidly throughout mainland Australia. 
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Australian dingo is a unique Australian species in its own right

Date:  March 5, 2019
Source: Flinders University

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Dingo on the beach in Great Sandy National Park, Fraser Island Waddy Point, QLD, Australia.
Credit: © p a w e l / Fotolia

Since the arrival of British settlers over 230 years ago, most Australians have assumed dingoes are a breed of wild dog. But 20 leading researchers have confirmed in a new study that the dingo is actually a unique, Australian species in its own right.
Following previous analyses of dingo skull and skin specimens to come to the same conclusion, these latest findings provide further evidence of specific characteristics that differentiate dingoes from domestic dogs, feral dogs, and other wild canids such as wolves.
The finding that a dingo is a dingo, and not a dog, offers an opposing view compared to a another recent study that the Government of Western Australia used to justify its attempt to declare the dingo as 'non-fauna', which would have given more freedom to landowners to kill them anywhere without a license.
Co-author Professor Corey Bradshaw of Flinders University in South Australia says the classification of dingoes has serious consequences for the fragile ecosystems they inhabit, and state governments are required to develop and implement management strategies for species considered native fauna.
"In fact, dingoes play a vital ecological role in Australia by outcompeting and displacing noxious introduced predators like feral cats and foxes. When dingoes are left alone, there are fewer feral predators eating native marsupials, birds and lizards."
"Dingoes can also increase profits for cattle graziers, because they target and eat kangaroos that otherwise compete with cattle for grass in semi-arid pasture lands,," says Professor Bradshaw.
Lead author, Dr Bradley Smith from Central Queensland University, says the scientific status of the dingo has remained contentious, resulting in inconsistency in government policy.
"The dingo has been geographically isolated from all other canids, and genetic mixing driven mainly by human interventions has only been occurring recently," Dr Smith says.
"Further evidence in support of dingoes being considered a 'wild type' capable of surviving in the absence of human intervention and under natural selection is demonstrated by the consistent return of dog-dingo hybrids to a dingo-like canid throughout the Australian mainland and on several islands."
"We have presented scientifically valid arguments to support the ongoing recognition of the dingo as a distinct species (Canis dingo), as was originally proposed by Meyer in 1793."
Dr Smith says little evidence exists to support the notion that any canid species are interchangeable with dingoes, despite the fact that most canids can successfully interbreed.
"There is no historical evidence of domestication once the dingo arrived in Australia, and the degree of domestication prior to arrival is uncertain and likely to be low, certainly compared to modern domestic dogs."
"We show that dingoes have survived in Australia for thousands of years, subject to the rigours of natural selection, thriving in all terrestrial habitats, and largely in the absence of human intervention or aid.
"The dingo is without doubt a native Australian species," concludes Professor Bradshaw.

Story Source: Flinders University. "Australian dingo is a unique Australian species in its own right." ScienceDaily. (accessed March 5, 2019).

Journal Reference:
  1. Bradley P. Smith, Kylie M. Cairns, Justin W. Adams, Thomas M. Newsome, Melanie Fillios, Eloïse C. Déaux, William C. H. Parr, Mike Letnic, Lily M. Van Eeden, Robert G. Appleby, Corey J. A. Bradshaw, Peter Savolainen, Euan G. Ritchie, Dale G. Nimmo, Clare Archer-Lean, Aaron C. Greenville, Christopher R. Dickman, Lyn Watson, Katherine E. Moseby, Tim S. Doherty, Arian D. Wallach, Damian S. Morrant, Mathew S. Crowther. Taxonomic status of the Australian dingo: the case for Canis dingo Meyer, 1793. Zootaxa, 2019; 4564 (1): 173 DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4564.1.6

The taxonomic status and systematic nomenclature of the Australian dingo remain contentious, resulting in decades of inconsistent applications in the scientific literature and in policy. Prompted by a recent publication calling for dingoes to be considered taxonomically as domestic dogs (Jackson et al.2017, Zootaxa 4317, 201-224), we review the issues of the taxonomy applied to canids, and summarise the main differences between dingoes and other canids. We conclude that (1) the Australian dingo is a geographically isolated (allopatric) species from all other Canis, and is genetically, phenotypically, ecologically, and behaviourally distinct; and (2) the dingo appears largely devoid of many of the signs of domestication, including surviving largely as a wild animal in Australia for millennia. The case of defining dingo taxonomy provides a quintessential example of the disagreements between species concepts (e.g., biological, phylogenetic, ecological, morphological). Applying the biological species concept sensu stricto to the dingo as suggested by Jackson et al. (2017) and consistently across the Canidae would lead to an aggregation of all Canis populations, implying for example that dogs and wolves are the same species. Such an aggregation would have substantial implications for taxonomic clarity, biological research, and wildlife conservation. Any changes to the current nomen of the dingo (currently Canis dingo Meyer, 1793), must therefore offer a strong, evidence-based argument in favour of it being recognised as a subspecies of Canis lupus Linnaeus, 1758, or as Canis familiaris Linnaeus, 1758, and a successful application to the International Commission for Zoological Nomenclature - neither of which can be adequately supported. Although there are many species concepts, the sum of the evidence presented in this paper affirms the classification of the dingo as a distinct taxon, namely Canis dingo.
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  • Claudiu Constantin Nicolaescu
I also believe the dingo (Canis dingo) is too different from all the other living Canidae species, so it must be recognized as a distinct species.
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  • Taipan
The following is a study from Fraser Island in Queensland, on dingo intraspecific mortality. No free roaming dogs were on the island and there were also no other predators large enough to kill adult dingoes. I have included what I hope to be the relevant aspects of the study, the full title of which is : Behrendorff, L., Belonje, G., & Allen, B. L. (2017). Intraspecific killing behaviour of canids: how dingoes kill dingoes. Ethology Ecology & Evolution, 30(1), 88–98.

Demographics of dingo intraspecific mortality

We acquired records of 357 deceased dingoes. Of these, 80 (22%) had been killed by other dingoes, attacked by other dingoes and then hit and killed by a vehicle, or exhibited fatal injuries consistent with dingo attack (Supplementary material). Of these 80 dingoes,38 were male, 37 were female, the sex of five was not recorded, and 39 of them (51%) were animals < 12 months of age. Furthermore, a total of 63 of these dingoes were recorded as being killed outright by dingo attack, and another nine were strongly suspected to have been killed by other dingoes, based on anecdotal reports.

Fatal injuries were often very violent, with broken bones and crushed organs

Observed injuries included superficial minor cuts and other wounds, deep puncture wounds, severe lacerations (including lacerations to internal organs), tissue bruising and crushing, mutilation of muscle tissue, and various bone fractures (Fig. 1). Extensive injuries caused by biting and crushing followed by vigorous shaking were most commonly located on the head, chest, ventral ribs, flanks and hips. Many of these resulted in punctured internal organs (42%), including fracturing of the vertebrae in four individuals (6%). One of these received a fractured spine at the atlas (alar process), axis (transverse and spinous processes) and C3 (transverse process; Fig. 2). Internal organ damage included punctured or damaged lungs (35%), liver (23%), kidneys (13%), heart (6%) and spleen (2%).

Live dingoes still bore frequent scarring on the head

A total of 27.7% (209 of 755) of dingoes handled during their lifetime (e.g. during capture and release, or collection)likewise presented injuries or scars on various parts of the body (Fig. 4). Most of these scars or injuries were found on the face and head (49.3%) followed by legs and/or paws(20.1%) and ears (14.4%)

Mortality was likely competitive as dingoes killed were not eaten

The proportion of (‘observed’) dingo-killed dingoes <12 months of age was no different from the proportion of (‘expected’) dingoes that were aged < 12 months in this larger handled sample (P= 0.13). Consumption of the carcass was not recorded on any occasion during our study, although one toe and the end of the nose were missing from one young pup.

Dingoes target the chest and throat to try and neutralize an opponent as quickly as possible

Death was caused by extensive internal haemorrhaging arising from crushing bites coupled with vigorous shaking, most often to the head, neck and chest areas (Fig. 1). Injuries were more commonly found in the ‘front half’, suggesting that when dingoes intend to kill animals of similar size to themselves, they do so by targeting vital areas most likely to cause a fast, fatal injury. Over a third of our records showed punctured organs inside the chest cavity, demonstrating that dingoes’ bite force and teeth length are sufficient to penetrate the skin, the muscle layer underneath, and beyond the rib cage to damage organs during attack. The necropsy of one dingo indicated that dingoes’ bite force is even strong enough to fracture the spine.


Dingoes are well equipped to deliver crushing bites

Our observations most likely arose due to dingoes
’ long canine teeth, wide gape angles, strong bite force and relatively narrow ventral chest width (Van Valkenburgh & Ruff 1987; Christiansen & Adolfssen 2005; Damasceno et al 2013). That dingo jaws can withstand relatively high levels of stress at wide gape angles (Bourke et al.2008) further supports the view that a ‘bite and shake’ mode of killing is preferred by dingoes.

I.M.O this is especially applicable to other canids with deep, narrow chests, but dingoes could also likely use this on other, broader opponents albeit in different areas such as the throat and back.

Dingoes rarely leave severe external wounds, but huge internal damage

We observed that dingoes’ canine teeth inflict major internal damage often masked by apparently minor external injuries. Described by Jones (1921) as ‘a primitive retention of his ancestors great teeth’(p. 260), dingoes’ canines do not necessarily penetrate the skin on all occasions. Instead, they generally cause crushing injuries, extensive subcutaneous haemorrhaging and fractures that are not always evident from external examination or associated or combined with skin punctures (Fleming et al.2001). External signs of puncture wounds can be difficult to identify. The removal of the skin during necropsy revealed abundant evidence of subcutaneous haemorrhage, deep-penetrating bite wounds and oedema (Fig. 2). Shepherd (1981) reported that red kangaroos (Macropus rufus) killed by dingoes ‘usually showed no visible signs of injuries or attack’(p. 257) unless, of course, the carcass had been eaten. But after removal of the skin during necropsy, ‘deep penetrating wounds accompanied by sub-cutaneous and intramuscular haemorrhage and oedema’(p. 257) were frequently. apparent. Punctures to major organs and fractures (including to the vertebrae) were also common. Moseby et al. (2012) reported that foxes killed by dingoes also exhibited little external sign of injury.

It is also noted that this is typically more severe than typical wounds sustained in domestic dog fights : The severity and extent of the injuries found when dingoes attack and kill each other are notably more severe than those typically seen by veterinarians when domesticated dogs fight each other (Holt & Griffin 2000).
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