The evolution of dog diet and foraging: Insights from archaeological canids in Siberia
Robert J. Losey, Tatiana Nomokonova, ,Eric Guiry, , Lacey S. Fleming, et al. Science Advances, 22 Jul 2022, Vol 8, Issue 29 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abo6493
Research on the evolution of dog foraging and diet has largely focused on scavenging during their initial domestication and genetic adaptations to starch-rich food environments following the advent of agriculture. The Siberian archaeological record evidences other critical shifts in dog foraging and diet that likely characterize Holocene dogs globally. By the Middle Holocene, body size reconstruction for Siberia dogs indicates that most were far smaller than Pleistocene wolves. This contributed to dogs’ tendencies to scavenge, feed on small prey, and reduce social foraging. Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of Siberian dogs reveals that their diets were more diverse than those of Pleistocene wolves. This included habitual consumption of marine and freshwater foods by the Middle Holocene and reliance on C4 foods by the Late Holocene. Feeding on such foods and anthropogenic waste increased dogs’ exposure to microbes, affected their gut microbiomes, and shaped long-term dog population history.