Did dogs help human hunters take down mammoths ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Flying Puffin
Early humans may have relied on domesticated dogs to help them hunt down and kill woolly mammoths.
Our ancestors have long been blamed for the disappearance of the mammoth and while this is likely to be true, new research has suggested that they may not have done it alone.
While investigating how early humans managed to bring down so many mammoths with only the primitive weapons of the time, anthropologist Pat Shipman came upon the idea that domesticated dogs may have provided a crucial supporting role in mammoth hunting practices.
"Dogs help hunters find prey faster and more often, and dogs also can surround a large animal and hold it in place by growling and charging while hunters move in," she said. "Both of these effects would increase hunting success."
Only last year a new study determined that dogs were domesticated between 18,800 and 32,100 years ago in Europe, adding support to the idea that they could have helped our ancestors hunt down mammoths.
"If hunters working with dogs catch more prey, have a higher intake of protein and fat, and have a lower expenditure of energy, their reproductive rate is likely to rise," said Shipman.
Source: Smithsonian Magazine | Comments (15)