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Oral communications

Laurens F., Baly I., Cucchi T., 2015. DOMEXP research project : presentation of its information system. 2èmes Journées de restitution BCDiv, Paris, France.

Documenting the earliest step of animal domestication still remains a huge challenge for zooarchaeologists. Not only because the process is elusive but also because the available morphological markers document an ongoing but not an emerging process. Indeed, according to the experiments, the morphological changes observed in domestic mammals are the pleiotropic results of strong behavioral selection. Captivity, on the other hand, considered by most as a catalyzer of the domestication process for the majority of domesticate mammals, has driven biomechanical and physiological changes in the animals’ environment which should have induced morphological changes through phenotypic plasticity, without any genetic modification. The first aim of DOMEXP is to capture this plastic signal in animal bones, and use it as a new bio-indicator of the early steps of animal domestication. The longer term objective of DOMEXP is to understand how these plastic responses have then driven the morphological changes during domestication.
The first stage of the DOMEXP project experiment the effect of captivity on the development of the musculoskeleton system on wild boar with a longitudinal study of individuals raised from 6 to 24 months in different contexts of mobility reduction. The development of their musculoskeleton system will be recorded using in vivo CT scan and MRI and analyzed with the latest 3D imagery techniques.

Cucchi T., Puymerail L., Adriaensen H., Baly, I., Blanc B., Callou C., Cornette R., Herrel A., Lecompte, F., Locatelli Y., Macchiarelli R., Ortiz K., Pellé E., Rabier R., Renaud S., Roux P. Simon R., Tresset A., Vigne J.D., 2014. EXPERIMENTAL DOMESTICATION Morpho Functional approach of skeleton development in captivity. ICAZ, 12th International Conference of Archeozoology, San Rafael, Argentina.

Most of morphological markers used in zooarchaeology to decipher the domestication signal in animal bones are considered to be tied to selection for less aggressive behaviour after experiments on carnivores using very drastic selective pressures. However, it is unlikely that such processes already acted at the beginning of the domestication process to build an observable phenotypic divergence. As such, these markers can hardly represent suitable templates for the investigation of domestication in other non carnivorous mammals at the early step of the domestication process. Plastic, non heritable phenotypic modifications due to changes in lifestyle conditions have played a major role in these early steps of domestication but “environmental” or “plastic” morphological responses to conditions experienced by animals under human control have received very little attention despite their potential to generate fast responses in the context of the domestication process. The DOMEXP project presented here aims at investigating the plastic responses of the internal and external structure of the skeleton during the growth of an ungulate model, the wild boar (Sus scrofa) in an experimental captive environment in order to generate new bio-indicators of the domestication processes applicable to the archaeological record.

Cucchi T., Puymerail L., Adriaensen H., Baly, I., Blanc B., Callou C., Cornette R., Herrel A., Lecompte, F., Locatelli Y., Macchiarelli R., Ortiz K., Pellé E., Rabier R., Renaud S., Roux P. Simon R., Tresset A., Vigne J.D., 2014. DOMEXP : Experimental domestication. Functional approach of skeleton development in captivity. Symposium National de Morphométrie et d'Evolution des Formes, Dijon, France.

Le projet DOMEXP a pour objectif d’identifier les conséquences biomécaniques de la captivité sur les structures internes et externes du squelette du sanglier (Sus scrofa) ; dont l’origine du processus de domestication échappe encore aux archéozoologues. Ce projet expérimental vise à obtenir de nouveaux bio-indicateurs de la captivité, catalyseur de la domestication au sens biologique. De tels marqueurs, reposant sur les réponses plastiques des structures osseuses, sont potentiellement mieux adaptés au traçage des premières étapes de l’histoire de la domestication à partir des vestiges ostéoarchéologiques que les critères classiques issus de sélections vraisemblablement tardives. La ferme expérimentale de sangliers située sur la réserve de la Haute Touche (MNHN), étudiera dans quelle mesure différentes contraintes fonctionnelles sur la locomotion (libre parcours, enclos et stabulation) pourraient trouver une expression phénotypique qualifiable et quantifiable dans le registre archéozoologique. Il mobilisera pour ce faire les dernières avancées en matière d’approches morpho-fonctionnelle tridimensionnelles pour accéder à la signature de la plasticité liée à la locomotion dans la morphologie osseuse, ce à l’aide d’observation longitudinales in vivo par utilisation d’imageries médicales bi-modales non invasive (INRA de Tours). Nous présenterons dans le cadre de ce symposium les premiers résultats issus des approches endostructurelles.


Blanc B., Ortiz K., Locatelli Y., Cucchi T., 2016. Safety of azaperone for repeated anesthesia on wild boar (Sus scrofa scrofa). 2016 Joint AAZV/EAZWV/IZW Conference, Atlanta, USA.

As part of an experimental study of a zooarcheological project, 24 wild boars (Sus scrofa scrofa) had to be anesthetized every 3 months from the age of 6 months up to 2 years for CT and MRI imaging. The challenge was to anesthetize 6 animals in the same half day of experiment with a rapid recovery. A safe handling of this species could be delicate. 1,3,4 We took the opportunity of these repeated anesthetic events to document an azaperone-based protocol adapted to wild boars. Each animal was restrained in an individual crate and received an azaperone injection (2 mg/kg, IM), prior to a 2 hours transfer time. 3 Pigs were then anesthetized with a standard combination of medetomidine (60 μg/kg, IM) and ketamine (6 mg/kg, IM), followed by 1 % isoflurane maintenance by endotracheal tube. 2,3 This protocol was insufficient when animals exceeded 30 kg. Adjusted doses of azaperone were added for anesthesia induction (1 to 2 mg/kg, IM, depending on time after premedication). This anesthesia depth permitted IV catheter placement. Intubation sometimes required an additional dose of ketamine (1 mg/kg, IV). Anesthesia was closely monitored particularly body temperature (hypothermia and malignant hyperthermia prevention 4 ). Animals were reversed in the crate with atipamezole (300 μg/kg, IM). This azaperone-based protocol provided safety for the boars as well as for the veterinary team handling these dangerous animals. Moreover, it allowed us to avoid increasing the medetomidine dosage and its potential adverse effects on animals that will reach up to 100 kg.