The Domestic Dog and Related Species
Note: The illustration of the boxer dog depicts it with altered ears and tail.
6. Give each student or group of students a copy of the student page, “Dogs and Related Species.” Explain to students that this diagram was created using real genetic information from the different species. Have students interpret the diagram to answer the following questions.
- The diagram has a reference group of other mammals. Find this group and list the members.
- Find the four main groups of dog relatives, and list the members of each group.
- Which species is the closest relative to the dog? Explain your answer.
- Which species or branch of species can be considered the least related to the dog? Explain your answer.
The diagram has a reference group of other mammals. Find this group and list the members. [Black bear, giant panda, northern elephant seal, walrus]
Find the four main groups of dog relatives, and list the members of each group.
- Red fox-like Canids [Genus Vulpes: arctic fox, bat-eared fox, Blanford’s fox, cape fox, corsac fox, fennec fox, kit fox, raccoon dog, red fox, Ruppell’s fox]
- South American Canids [Genus Lycalopex: bush dog, chilla, crab-eating fox, culpeo, Darwin’s fox, hoary fox, maned wolf, pampas fox, Sechuran fox, short-eared dog]
- Wolf-like Canids [Genus Canis: African wild dog, black-backed jackal, coyote, dhole, dog, Ethiopian wolf, golden jackal, gray wolf, side-striped jackal]
- North American Gray Canids [Genus Urocycon: gray fox, island fox]
Which species is the closest relative to the dog? Explain your answer. [Gray Wolf, because it shares the most recent branching point with the dog.]
Which species or branch of species can be considered the least related to the dog? Explain your answer. [The branch containing the gray fox and island fox is the least related (most distant branch from dog).]
- Wayne, R., and Ostrander E. 2007. Lessons Learned from the Dog Genome. TRENDS in Genetics 23: 557-567.
- Wayne, R. © UCLA Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Licensed for use March 2, 2016: Elsevier and Copyright Clearance Center: License Number 3820930088090.
- Moreno, N. (2017) Complex Traits: Using Dogs as a Model for Modern Genetics. Baylor College of Medicine: Houston. ISBN: 978-1-994035-08-2.
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