Ariane Elizabeth Thomas

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Iowa, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10354

Approve Date

April 13, 2022

Project Title

Thomas, Ariane (Iowa, U. of) "The effects of human cultural identity and European colonization on North American dog populations"

Dog biology has enriched our understanding of the human-dog relationship in the Americas, but few studies have explored the human influence in shaping dog populations and agency during colonization. European colonization had devastating and long-lasting consequences for the human-dog relationship, nearly eradicating all indigenous dog lineages before the present day and replacing them with European dogs. My project will identify the rate at which European dogs replaced indigenous ones and if indigenous and European peoples prevented their dogs from interbreeding with each other. My data consists of mitochondrial DNA and stable isotope ratios from dogs associated with indigenous and European colonial contexts recovered from Plains and mid-Atlantic archaeological sites. The identification of indigenous and European dogs allows me to use human culture as a statistical category that can be analyzed with well-established population genetic and demographic methods. This methodology will be used to determine the degree of dog agency during the early stages of colonization (CE 1500 – CE 1900). My research draws on multispecies and decolonizing approaches to address outstanding questions about the human-dog relationship of the past and its influence on our understanding of contemporary human-dog relationships in a colonial world.