2022 Canine Health Summit

A Deep Time Perspective on the Shared Cultural and Evolutionary History of Dogs and People

Wed, April 27, 2022 | 11:15 AM ET


Greger Larson, PhD

Professor of Evolutionary Genomics, University of Oxford

The Origin of Dog & what converging modern and ancient DNA data can tell us

For many of us, dogs are not just pets, they are family members with their own bespoke clothing and therapists and trendy snacks (for example, canine pumpkin spice latte treats). Dogs have become so integrated into our lives that it is difficult to imagine how, for at least 90% of our species’ history, we lived without them. In this talk I will discuss how dogs are best conceived as an emergent property of the Interaction between human populations and wolves, and how the union of those two species has intensified over the past 15,000 or so years. Specifically, I will detail how numerous approaches to studying dogs has revealed just how deep our relationship has been, and how that has manifested both biologically and culturally. It is not overstating things to say that dogs are people, and we are our dogs.

About the Speaker

Greger Larson received his bachelor’s degree in 1996 from Claremont McKenna College, a small liberal arts college in California. He read just about everything Stephen J Gould ever wrote over the following three years while he wandered the deserts of Turkmenistanvand worked for an environmental consultancy in Azerbaijan. Deciding that evolution was cooler than oil, Greger studied at Oxford and the University of Colorado before receiving his PhD in Zoology in 2006. He then spent two years in Uppsala, Sweden on an EMBO postdoctoral fellowship before starting a job in the department of archaeology at Durham University. Greger then moved to Oxford University to become the Director of the Palaeogenomics & Bio-Archaeology Research Network Greger where he is continuing his focus on the use of ancient DNA to study the pattern and process of domestication. He rarely wonders what his salary would be had he stuck to oil.

2022 Canine Health Summit Sessions