A large assortment of skulls and skeletons of recent wild boar (Sus scrofa) from across the world has been used to collect tooth and bone measurements that can be compared to those from archaeological specimens. The data provide useful information for a reconstruction of the Holocene history of the species. The evidence collected so far highlights the great variability of the species and provides a baseline to be used for the interpretation of ancient material. It is shown that not only the size, but also the shape of teeth and mandibles can help in highlighting patterns of variability in wild boar from different areas. A number of geographic trends are identified in the variation of S. scrofa across its range, mainly concerning the differentiation of insular forms, and the existence of South-North and West-East clines. Other factors such as hybridisation with domestic stock, feralisation and human-induced movement of animals may also play an important role. A comparison with ancient material emphasises the existence of similarities as well as differences between modern and ancient populations. Although some of the geographic trends identified on the basis of the analysis of modern material seem to date back to early Holocene times, the morphological history of the species appears to be complex, and in more than one area fluctuations in body size seem to have occurred.
- wild boar
- pig domestication