What can be more beautiful that a beautiful dog on the cover of Science? A valid scientific paper inside,perhaps? Or, is that asking too much from the house of Elizabeth Pennisi, the ignoramus Science writer and editor in charge of “genomics, evolution, microbiology, and organismal biology, with a smattering of ecology and behavior thrown in.” Pennisi, to those with even shorter memories than mine, is the idiot non-savant who buried and eulogized junk DNA not once but twice.
On 15 November 2013, Elizabeth Pennisi became the editor responsible for the publication of one of the worst articles in Science. In her commentary on the article she states:
“The story of dogs began thousands of years ago, when gray wolves began sidling out of the shadows and into the company of humans. There’s little argument about that scenario—but plenty about when and where it took place, with the leading theories suggesting dogs were domesticated either in the Middle East or in East Asia. A study on page 871 draws on a new source of evidence, DNA from the fossils of ancient dogs and wolves, and comes to a third conclusion: Dogs originated in Europe, from a now-extinct branch of gray wolves.”
The paper she is referring to is entitled “Complete Mitochondrial Genomes of Ancient Canids Suggest a European Origin of Domestic Dogs” and was written by Thalmann et al., where the “et al.” stands for some of the biggest luminaries of ancient DNA, such as Svante Pääbo, the person who gave us a piece of Egyptian mummy mitochondrial DNA that turned out to be his own.
The take home message of the Thalmann et al. paper is simple: Dogs were not domesticated in the Middle East or China as previously claimed; they were domesticated in Europe. Let me repeat the main result of this paper: Dogs were domesticated in Europe; previous claims on the domestication of dogs in the Middle East or China are wrong and have been refuted.
Interestingly, on page 873, it is written:
"Notably, our ancient panel does not contain specimens from the Middle East or China, two proposed centers of origin (5, 6)."
So, the origin of dogs was moved from the Middle East or China to Europe by the simple expedient of omitting any sample from the Middle East or China. Maybe Elizabeth Pennisi can explain why was this paper published in the first place, given that the authors admit a major defect in their argument. Was the prospect of a picture of a cute dog on the cover of Science too tempting to resist?
How can an ignorant simpleton such as Elizabeth Pennisi resist putting such a cute dog on the cover of Science? So what if the price is publishing one more shitty paper in this glamorous journal?