Chapter

Domestication of Guinea Pigs from a Southern Peru-Northern Chile Wild Species and their Middle Pre-Columbian Mummies

Angel E. Spotorno, Germán Manríquez, Andrea Fernández L., Juan Carlos Marín, Fermín González and Jane Wheeler

in The Quintessential Naturalist

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2007 | ISBN: 9780520098596
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520916159 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520098596.003.0014
Domestication of Guinea Pigs from a Southern Peru-Northern Chile Wild Species and their Middle Pre-Columbian Mummies

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This chapter re-analyzes 12S rRNA (759 bp) and cytochrome b gene (1140 bp) sequence data from relevant species and breeds to investigate the origins and domestication of guinea pigs, or cuyes, (Cavia porcellus). It describes and compares Peruvian and north-Chilean sites with both domesticated (living Andean creole and European breeds) and wild species. The chapter observes that all molecular analyses point to the western C. tschudii rather than to the eastern C. aperea as the ancestral wild species. It adds that domesticated Andean and European cuyes are different both in biochemical and morphological analysis; both breeds exhibited a lower neurocranium than that of C. tschudii. The chapter further observes that principal component analysis of skeletal measurements showed that although most of the mummies analyzed were juveniles, at least two appeared to be adults when compared with wild Andean cuyes.

Keywords: 12S rRNA; cytochrome b gene; sequence data; domestication; guinea pigs; C. tschudii; C. aperea; Peru; northern Chile; neurocranium

Chapter.  6799 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences

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