Prehistoric pooch lived alongside early humans during the Ice Age, according to scientists

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Updated: June 4, 2020

SCIENTISTS have unearthed the fossilised remains of a prehistoric pooch that lived alongside early humans during the Ice Age.

The findings are strong evidence that dogs have been man’s best friend ever since they were first domesticated in the Palaeolithic period.

Analysis of fossilised teeth revealed that a canine creature known as a ‘proto-dog’ enjoyed crunching on discarded bones in human settlements over 28,000 years ago.

The study by the University of Arkansas in the USA concluded that the tooth wear was different from that found in wild wolves, which ate mainly soft flesh.

“Domestication would have decreased inherent fear of humans in protodogs and facilitated consumption of human-accumulated prey,” said the study.

This would have led to them living within or along the edges of human encampments whilst consuming bones that were thrown away or fed to them by humans.

Hunter-gatherers

Researchers performed their analysis of dental micro-wear on samples of fossils from a site in the Czech Republic, which contained the remains of both wolf-like and dog-like animals.

A news release from the University of Arkansas said: “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. “

If you like technical stuff you can read all the complicated details of the study on the University of Arkansas website by clicking here.

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