Guest post by David Middleton
Two of my favorite things are dogs and the Pleistocene…
New Study Results Consistent With Dog Domestication During Ice Age
by Matt McGowan | Feb 19, 2020 | Advancing the Data Revolution, Research News
Analysis of Paleolithic-era teeth from a 28,500-year-old fossil site in the Czech Republic provides supporting evidence for two groups of canids – one dog-like and the other wolf-like – with differing diets, which is consistent with the early domestication of dogs.
The study, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, was co-directed by Peter Ungar, Distinguished Professor of anthropology at the University of Arkansas.
The researchers performed dental microwear texture analysis on a sample of fossils from the Předmostí site, which contains both wolf-like and dog-like canids. Canids are simply mammals of the dog family. The researchers identified distinctive microwear patterns for each canid morphotype. Compared to the wolf-like canids, the teeth of the early dog canids – called “protodogs” by the researchers – had larger wear scars, indicating a diet that included hard, brittle foods. The teeth of the wolf-like canids had smaller scars, suggesting they consumed more flesh, likely from mammoth, as shown by previous research.
Dog domestication is the earliest example of animal husbandry and the only type of domestication that occurred well before the earliest definitive evidence of agriculture. However, there is robust scientific debate about the timing and circumstances of the initial domestication of dogs, with estimates varying between 15,000 and 40,000 years ago, well into the Ice Age, when people had a hunter-gatherer way of life. There is also debate about why wolves were first domesticated to become dogs. From an anthropological perspective, the timing of the domestication process is important for understanding early cognition, behavior and the ecology of early Homo sapiens.
[…]University of Arkansas
Cool article. I just wish they wouldn’t refer to the last Pleistocene glacial stage as “the Ice Age.”
Dogs are truly amazing creatures. Instead of hunting humans, some wolves (or wolf-like canids) became our friends (family to many of us)… They helped us hunt, protected us and our livestock all in exchange for a few scraps of food and a pat on the head. I have always been convinced that the domestication of dogs and horses enabled humans to dominate this planet.
Just think about it… 40,000 years of evolution did this: