Student Research Projects

The Cause and Effects of Domestication in Canis familiaris

Student Kim Eisle
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Biology
Course BIO 485


Approximately 40 Ma. (million years ago) in North America, the first true canidae, Hesperocyon, appeared which later gave rise to three subfamilies. The three subfamilies include Hesperocyoninae, Borophaginae, and Caninae which all evolved by the Early Oligocene Epoch. The only extant (living) subfamily is the Caninae with the others being extinct by the Pliocene Epoch in North America. The genus Eucyon from the subfamily Caninae became the ancestor of all living canids today including Canis Familiaris, domesticated dogs. Domesticated dogs evolved from Canis lupus, grey wolves, ~ 15,000 years ago in Eurasia but recent evidence using a genome-wide analysis suggested a Middle East origin. Genetic markers of current dogs and wolves all over the world were more similar to wolves in the Middle East versus East Asia. Using the Farm-Fox Experiment that began in Russia provided insights into the process of domestication such as a change in behavior, physiology, and morphology.