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Papuan Dogs – the first companions of man

Morphology :

  • The carnassial teeth are large, usually equal to or greater than 10% of their skull length (F16).
  • Vocal tract: The presence of a two-lobed uvula at the free border of the soft plate has been speculated to exist in NGSDs, on the basis of radiographic and ultrasound examination (FEINSTEIN et al. 2001; cf. comments in chapter H).
  • The coat shows some variation in hair texture which is referred to in F15 (second paragraph in the quotation). The coat is longer, more open and rather coarse in comparison with that of (phenotypically) pure lowland dogs (cf. figs. 8 - 23; 28 - 31).
  • The comparatively wide range of colouration and proportions of the New Guinea highland strain has been already referred to above; it was evident from the first generations of captive stock (SCHULTZ 199), but is less apparent in the US population of captive NGSDs nowaday, due to breed standards imposed by the Kennel Clubs and the NGSDCA (F17). It will be further discussed (cf. chapter E).

While going through the references for this summary my uneasy feeling grew even further that the material published by certain American authors was presented with an intention: to prove the wild status of the highland dogs. Other qualities like the apparent universality of primitive strains (that include the Papuan dogs), the endemic New Guinea dogs' overwhelming antiquity in their partnership with again a primitive stage of human (tribal) society, all this fascinating spectrum of social interrelations and cultural testimony of human evolution as well as that of these Papuan dogs - this immense wealth has been subdued or rather suppressed in favour of one single phrase: „wild status“... The multiple superiority of the „primitive“, here of the earliest stages of domestication as compared with the current scenario in modern (US) society's dog breeds, seems to be a matter for which there exists little appreciation anymore – very regrettably.

These remarks relate also to the still surviving populations of pariah dogs in countries from Asia to Africa where they live at the periphery of the human realm. But none of these can show up with such a long impressive history in dealing with human beings as the Papuan dogs.

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.