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Papuan Dogs – the first companions of man

It should be sufficently clear from what has been said above: the supporters of Papuan dogs either follow a strategy of preservation in continuation of traditional practizes (in situ) or they follow the rules of the Kennel Club. Both are not compatible. In the latter case a different animal evolves that eventually will have lost most if not all the unique and most valuable qualities of primitive strains: it has become the NGSD Breed – sealed and granted.

I follow therefore a line of strict distinction between what is specified as the New Guinea Singing Dog (NGSD) and the in situ populations of New Guinea highland dogs. It is uncertain if the latter still exist; and I am asking why there has been no more focal attention and action of rescue in the field... (cf. chapter I).

For the NGSD Breed I am presenting this summary of peculiar genetic and traditional (=not genetically fixed) properties as compiled from various published sources:

Molecular and DNA analysis :

It should be noted that there are only erratic results available and no data – to my knowledge - from any wolf population in the region east of the (lowland) Indian Peninsula, both of the Indian wolf (Canis lupus pallipes - if this distinct sub-species extends that far eastwards – cf. F14), and of the extinct Canis lupus variabilis further to the east.

  • The NGSD is said to have two proteins that are not found in other domestic dogs, nor in the wild canids wolf (which sub-species?) and jackal, but are identically present in coyotes. (SIMONSEN 1976; F2).
  • A mitochondrial DNA sequence was identified that is unique for the NGSD as compared with 33 other dog breeds (WAYNE et al. 1992).
  • According to a preliminary report of a pilot nuclear study, DNA profiles of NGSDs were found to contain genetic markers that were also present in dingoes, but not in the Alaskan grey wolf or seven domestic dog breeds (I.L. Brisbin and W. Gerits – data gathered from F2).
  • According to a personal communication (Wilton), as quoted in KOLER-MATZNICK et al. 2003 there is „a big [NGSD] separtition from the dogs but not very much from the dingoes (captive). Therefore, the NGSDs look genetically very much like the dingoes.“

Behaviour :

  • While NGSDs show „all of the common behaviors of C. lupus and C. familiaris“, of the total of 246 behaviors described for the NGSD, 25 (about 10 %) are unique to this breed or are expressed differently (cf. table in KOLER-MATZNICK et al. 2000). „17 of these behaviors (about 7%) have not been described for any other Canis species.“ (KOLER -MATZNICK et al. 2001 increase these figures: 251 behaviors in total, 18 of which are unique to the NGSD as compared to any other canid).
  • Of these behaviours unique to the NGSD breed there has been particular notice to the „head toss solicidation; cheek rub marking behavior; tooth chomp threat; auto-erotic stimulation; genitally-oriented biting; female copulation scream; and copulation contractions; several vocalizations (KOLER-MATZNICK et al. 2003).
  • Distinctive vocalizations are described in the same publication: The chorus howl; the dramatic pitch changes of the NGSD howl; a trill emitted during high arousal (of „bird-like“ character).
  • The absence of the stereotyped „play bow“ invitation to engage in play (BEKOFF 1977) has also been noted ( KOLER-MATZNICK et al.2000).
  • Attached to this section I wish to refer to the peculiar estrous cycle of the NGSD: There is sufficient indication available to assume that a single estrous is characteristic for wild canids (CLUTTON-BROCK 1984) and for the most primitive domesticated dogs (F15, CARPENTER 1963 - cf. chapter D). While populations of more advanced domestication (all modern breeds ?) have two regular estrous cycles. KOLER-MATZNIK et al. 2000 indicate for the NGSD one regular estrous per year. But if there was no impregnation, the bitch may enter a second and sometimes even a third period of heat.
Veröffentlicht am Kategorien Gulf of Papua, Papuan Dogs, Rare breeds, Zoological ResearchSchlagwörter , , , ,

Über Thomas Schultze-Westrum

Dr. Thomas Georg Hans SCHULTZE-WESTRUM Author of Scientific and Popular Publications Producer and Director of Documentary Films and Videos Adviser in Nature Conservation and Preservation of Rural Cultures Initiator of Conservation Programmes German national. Born 1937 (Berlin). Classical education at the Benedictine monastery of Ettal in Upper Bavaria. Graduate of Munich University, with degrees in Zoology, Geology and Cultural Anthropology (Ethnology). Scholarship by “Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes”. Research (University of Munich, other scientific institutions) and publications on social and population physiology of marsupials and other vertebrate fauna of New Guinea and the Mediterranean Region, cultural anthropology, conservation and resource management on the village level, mainly in Greece and New Guinea. Author of the books “New Guinea” (Berne 1972) and “Biologie des Friedens” (Biology of Peace), Munich 1974. Dr. Schultze-Westrum has joined for several years the Commissions on Ecology and Environmental Planning of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). He is the founder of the working group (IUCN Commission on Ecology) “Conservation and Traditional Life Styles” 1979; the “ECOCULTURE” Movement 1981; the “Gesellschaft für die Erhaltung alter und gefährdeter Haustierrassen” GEH (Society for the Preservation of Old and Endangered Breeds of Domestic Animals) 1981; and the non-profit-making society “KALLIERGIA”, for traditional agriculture and village conservation in Greece, 1993. As a consultant he has worked for the EU, IUCN, OECD and WWF. As a film maker he has produced, directed and mostly also shot, for German television and international TV networks, 75 documentaries, mainly ecological portraits with emphasis upon the integration of local and traditionally living people into conservation projects. His first film (1974) was about alternative (sustainable) utilization of tropical rainforests in New Guinea, for ZDF. Never Dr. Schultze-Westrum has entered any of his films into an award winning competition, because he is more concerned about the effects of his TV work in actual conservation and public awareness. One of these real awards was the creation of the Marine National Park Alonnisos Northern Sporades in Greece as a result of his film “The Coast of the Monk Seals” in 1976/77 for ZDF (ratings 36 % - shown in 11 countries). His programme “Green Desert”, about traditional water management in the Sultanate of Oman was distributed by the Television Trust for the Environment TVE to 44, mainly Third World, countries. Another leading aspect of his film work was the production of environmental films for the people of the country where he was filming. So, he produced the first TV series of films on ecology, rural life styles and conservation for Greece (in the early 80’s, 14 programmes) and for the Sultanate of Oman (late 80’s, 12 films). His deep interest in ancient human traditions inspired him to produce “Omani Seafaring”, for Oman TV; “Im Kielwasser Sindbads” (In the Wake of Sindbad), for the series Terra X of ZDF; and “Insel der Magier” (Island of the Sorcerers: Waigeo) for ARTE TV. After retiring from TV film production at the end of 2002 he is returning to his earlier scientific work (abandoned in the early 70’s) about the social and population physiology of marsupials ( Petaurus breviceps papuanus and closely related species); village based conservation; the evolution of human communal behaviour and cultural diversity; and the evolution of art styles in the Papuan Gulf province of New Guinea. Since 1992 he is also involved in eco- and agrotourism programmes that are based on his earlier promotion of this alternative “soft” tourism through publications and films, in Greece and West Papua. His conservation activities are continuously focussed on Greece and New Guinea, since 1957 and 1959, respectively. Dr. Schultze-Westrum now is writing up his experiences of many years field work and he is keeping communications alive through his homepage, from the ancient village of Kazaviti on the island of Thassos in the northern Aegean Sea. The conservation and re-activation of outstanding traditional values of Kazaviti stand at the centre of a local museum and documentation centre to be set up in one or even two old Macedonian stone houses.