Insights into early pig domestication provided by ancient DNA analysis.

Authors:
Amke Caliebe, Almut Nebel, Cheryl Makarewicz, Michael Krawczak, Ben Krause-Kyora
Year of publication:
2017
Volume:
7
Issue:
-
Issn:
2045-2322
Journal title abbreviated:
SCI REP-UK
Journal title long:
Scientific Reports
Impact factor:
4.122
Abstract:
Pigs (Sus scrofa) were first domesticated between 8,500 and 8,000 cal BC in the Near East, from where they were subsequently brought into Europe by agriculturalists. Soon after the arrival of the first domestic pigs in northern Europe (~4500 BC), farmers are thought to have started to incorporate local wild boars into their swine herds. This husbandry strategy ultimately resulted in the domestication of European wild boars. Here, we set out to provide a more precise geographic and temporal framework of the early management of suid populations in northern Europe, drawing upon mitochondrial DNA haplotype data from 116 Neolithic Sus specimens. We developed a quantitative mathematical model tracing the haplotypes of the domestic pigs back to their most likely geographic origin. Our modelling results suggest that, between 5000 and 4000 BC, almost all matrilines in the north originated from domesticated animals from the south of central Europe. In the following period (4000-3000 BC), an estimated 78-100% of domesticates in the north were of northern matrilineal origin, largely from local wild boars. These findings point towards a dramatic change in suid management strategies taking place throughout south-central and northern Europe after 4000 BC.