Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Size variation under domestication: conservatism in the inner ear shape of wolves, dogs and dingoes.

Abstract

A broad sample of wolves, dingoes, and domesticated dogs of different kinds and time periods was used to identify changes in size and shape of the organs of balance and hearing related to domestication and to evaluate the potential utility of uncovered patterns as markers of domestication. Using geometric morphometrics coupled with non-invasive imaging and three-dimensional reconstructions, we exposed and compared complex structures that remain largely conserved. There is no statistically significant difference in the levels of shape variation between prehistoric and modern dogs. Shape variance is slightly higher for the different components of the inner ear in modern dogs than in wolves, but these differences are not significant. Wolves express a significantly greater level of variance in the angle between the lateral and the posterior canal than domestic dog breeds. Wolves have smaller levels of size variation than dogs. In terms of the shape of the semicircular canals, dingoes reflect the mean shape in the context of variation in the sample. This mirrors the condition of feral forms in other organs, in which there is an incomplete return to the characteristics of the ancestor. In general, morphological diversity or disparity in the inner ear is generated by scaling.