A 33,000-year-old wolf skull discovered in Russia has turned out to be one of the world's first dogs.
The fossil skull was found in 1975 within a cave in the Altai Mountains of Siberia and at the time archaeologists believed they'd unearthed the remains of a prehistoric wolf. An anatomical analysis of the fossil undertaken in 2011 however revealed that the animal would have been a hybrid, a cross between a wolf and a dog. In effect, what the team had discovered was the fossil skull of one of the earliest known domestic dogs.
It isn't clear exactly how long ago the domestication process began, some believe that it could have started as far back as 100,000 years ago. The discovery of the skull indicates that it must have happened at least 33,000 years ago, however it is possible that the process occurred independently several times.
"In 1975, a team of Russian archaeologists announced that they’d made a remarkable find: From a cave in the Altai Mountains of Siberia, they’d unearthed a 33,000-year-old fossil skull that resembled a wolf."
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Source: Smithsonian Magazine
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