True ancestry of domestic dog
Canis familiaris photo © Sofia Olsson
The domestic dog is descended not from the wolf – which never features the black-and-tan pattern – but from an extinct and unnamed ancestral species, one colour-morph of which probably looked just like this. The black-and-tan pattern could not have been created by selective breeding because it is fully symmetrical, adaptive rather than aesthetic, and consistent across a wide range of otherwise extremely specialised breeds.
Robin and the Honey Badger, 22 March 2016