A genomic perspective on wild boar demography and evolution

Marcel Amills, Hendrik Jan Megens, Arianna Manunza, Sebastián E. Ramos-Onsins, Martien A.M. Groenen

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2 Citations (Scopus)


© Cambridge University Press 2018. A Genomic Perspective on the Evolutionary History of Sus Speciation Pig-like species (Suidae) are found in many different parts of the world. This superfamily consists of at least 15 different extant species found in Africa, South America, Europe, and Asia (Table 34.1). Suid species in Eurasia exhibit a striking dichotomy in their distribution. While there are at least seven recognized suid species on Island South East Asia (ISEA), only two are found on the Eurasian mainland (Table 34.1). Even in these two species on the Eurasian mainland, the dichotomy could not have been starker: one species, the pygmy hog (Porcula salvania) is confined to a relatively small region in the north of India and south of Nepal, where it relies on a rather special ecosystem, i.e. the grasslands near the southern foothills of the Himalayas. The pygmy hog was recently proposed to be reassigned to a separate genus relative to the genus Sus (Funk et al. 2007). On the other hand, Sus scrofa, the other Eurasian mainland species, can be found throughout this largest landmass on our planet, whenever woodlands or shrubs are present, and snow cover in winter is not too prolonged. Although wild boar certainly has a defined ecology, its wide range does exemplify the opportunistic nature of this species. It has long been recognized that suiformes in the Americas (peccaries; Tayassuidae) form a distinct group compared to the Old World pigs (Suidae). This has recently been confirmed by population genomics approaches that put a date for the divergence between these two groups in the Oligocene (around 27-34 Ma: Frantz 2015; Frantz et al. 2016, see also Figure 34.1). Within the Old World suids, the oldest divergence time lies in the middle to late Miocene (8-13 Ma), when Babyrousa of Sulawesi radiated from all other Suidae (Frantz 2015; Frantz et al. 2016). Divergence between the African suids and the genus Sus appears to have taken place around the late Miocene or at the very beginning of the Pliocene, around 10-6 Ma (Frantz 2015; Frantz et al. 2016). The importance of this finding lies in the fact that phylogenetic analyses confirm paleontological data indicating that pigs were present throughout most of Eurasia in the Plio- and Pleistocene.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEcology, Conservation and Management of Wild Pigs and Peccaries
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


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