Eddine A, Rocha RG, Mostefai N, Karssene Y, De Smet K, Brito JC, Klees D, Nowak C, Cocchiararo B, Lopes S, van der Leer P, Godinho R




The diffusion of Neolithic technology together with the Holocene Climatic Optimum fostered the spread of human settlements and pastoral activities in North Africa, resulting in profound and enduring consequences for the dynamics of species, communities and landscapes. Here, we investigate the demographic history of the African wolf (Canis lupaster), a recently recognized canid species, to understand if demographic trends of this generalist and opportunistic carnivore reflect the increase in food availability that emerged after the arrival of the Neolithic economy in North Africa. We screened nuclear and mitochondrial DNA in samples collected throughout Algeria and Tunisia, and implemented coalescent approaches to estimate the variation of effective population sizes from present to ancestral time. We have found consistent evidence supporting the hypothesis that the African wolf population experienced a meaningful expansion concurring with a period of rapid population expansion of domesticates linked to the advent of agricultural practices.


Journal: Biology Letters

DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2019.0560