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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 31(1)

Hybridisation between the dingo, Canis lupus dingo, and the domestic dog, Canis lupus familiaris, in Victoria: a critical review

Evan Jones

8 Harrods Court, Strathdale, Vic. 3550, Australia. Email: evan.jones6@bigpond.com
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This paper reviews two separate population models proposed for a group of wild canids inhabiting the Victorian eastern highlands and re-analyses some of the data used. The first model was based upon two studies that used eight skull measurements in a canonical variate equation. Those studies classified population samples into three separate groups consisting of dingoes, feral domestic dogs and their hybrids. The second model, based upon a later study, classified a separate and additional population sample on the basis of both coat colour and physical appearance, but also cross-referenced the classifications to their canonical scores. That study rejected the model of three separate canid groups and the ability of the canonical variate equation to differentiate ‘pure’ dingoes from other canids. Instead the population was classified as a single group of dingo-like wild canids with an increased range in the variability of their physical characteristics compared to the original dingo population. After a re-evaluation of the data from the latter study and careful examination of the limitations of the canonical variate equation, the evidence presented here supports the population model of a single group of wild canids. Theoretical considerations associated with these two population models are discussed, as are the limitations of the canonical variate equation to classify the Victorian eastern highlands and other Australian wild canid populations.

Keywords: canid taxonomy, Canidae, canonical variate analysis, cross breeds, hybrids, Victorian eastern highlands, wild canids.

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