Home
Guest Posts
Print|Text Size: ||
Ancient Dog Skull Complicates the Story of Domestication
Points to more than one common ancestor
The 33,000-year-old skull of a domesticated dog discovered in a cave in Siberia.

A well-preserved skull discovered in a cave in the Altai Mountains of Siberia has been identified as the 33,000-year-old remains of a domesticated dog—making it among the oldest evidence of domestication, according to a report originally published in Plos One.

The discovery means the story of domestication as happening in a single place needs to be revised. It looks very much like domestication happened repeatedly in different geographic areas and who knows how far back.

Although the shortened snout and widened jaw in the Siberian skull offer clear evidence of domestication, this dog is not an ancestor of the modern dog. Nor are equally ancient dog remains discovered earlier in a cave in Belgium. These lines appear not to have survived the last great ice age (which began about 26,000 years ago).

I’m intrigued and excited by the idea that humans were living with dogs—for protection, companionship, help on the hunt—not just in many places but well before other animals were domesticated for agricultural use. The science continues to make the case for a very deep relationship.

Print

Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom.

Order Dog Park Wisdom

Photo by Nikolai D. Ovodov. Source: The University of Arizona Office of University Communications.

More From The Bark

By
Lisa Wogan
By
Kathleen St. John
By
Julia Kamysz Lane
More in Guest Posts:
Failed Fosters Dog Adoption
New Toys and Chews
For the Love of a Ball: Dogs as Conservation Biologists
The Benefits of Having Multiple Dogs
Saving Pennies for a Service Dog
Getting Unsolicited Advice About Your Dog
Describing Your Dog
A Guide To Bringing a Dog Home For The First Time
Marriage Proposal Declined Because of Dog
Proof that Dogs Were Our Ancient Hunting Partners