First dogs in Aurignacian?17 Oct 2008
I haven’t seen this paper, so can’t comment on the results, but the story is worth passing along:
An international team of scientists has just identified what they believe is the world's first known dog, which was a large and toothy canine that lived 31,700 years ago and subsisted on a diet of horse, musk ox and reindeer, according to a new study.
The discovery could push back the date for the earliest dog by 17,700 years, since the second oldest known dog, found in Russia, dates to 14,000 years ago.
Remains for the older prehistoric dog, which were excavated at Goyet Cave in Belgium, suggest to the researchers that the Aurignacian people of Europe from the Upper Paleolithic period first domesticated dogs.
It’s very, very interesting if true, because it advances the story of subsistence differences between Neandertals and early Upper Paleolithic people. But I would have more confidence if the story quoted some zooarchaeologists whose work I know. I hadn’t known about this:
Ancient, 26,000-year-old footprints made by a child and a dog at Chauvet Cave, France, support the pet notion. Torch wipes accompanying the prints indicate the child held a torch while navigating the dark corridors accompanied by a dog.
So why aren’t there more skeletons? Hmmm…