By Julien d'Huy

The [use of appropriate statistical techniques applied to myths and folktales] ( concerning domestic animals may provide valuable informations as to their origin and past diffusion. Indeed, the domestication of animals have probably been accompanied by the creation of many myths, which have followed the diffusion of species.
Let's take an example. Using [Berezkin's database] (, I created absence and presence database for 23 myths that only concern dogs and 22 geographical areas (with more than 5 myths identified for each of them). I then built a neighbour joining tree based on Jaccard distances with [Splitstree4] ( (see attached). According to genetic analysis about the origin of dogs (e.g. [Ding et al. 2012] (, I rooted the tree in Indonesia. The results show a global correlation between phylogenetic and geographical clustering. In agreement with previous results ([van Asch et al. 2013] (, it also suggests two waves of settlement in America. Moreover, using the tree, it becomes possible to reconstruct the palaeolithic mythology around the dog, i.e., « A man and a dog in the moon » (A32C in the Berezkin's database), « Talking dog » (B41), « People descend from a dog » (C12B), « Puppy as a reward » (E9E), « Chthonic canine » (I27) and « Woman and dog » (K47A), some of those stories being already dated to the Stone age through other methods (eg I27: [Berezkin 2005] ( ; C12B and K47A : [d'Huy 2013] (

Attachment: Dog.png (38.1 KB)


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Julien d'Huy



Published: 16 Sep, 2015

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