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Ancient dog skull unearthed

Posted on Sunday, 10 March, 2013 | Comment icon 7 comments | News tip by: Still Waters


Image credit: Wolfgirlmichelle

 
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."

  View: Full article

 Source: Smithsonian Magazine


  Discuss: View comments (7)

   


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Hilander on 9 March, 2013, 0:21
I guess people have been keeping dogs longer than we think. No wonder we can get so attached to them.
Comment icon #2 Posted by ashven on 10 March, 2013, 15:13
Excuse my ignorance but how do you decide it was a hybrid and early domesticated dog aside from a lineage that has become extinct?
Comment icon #3 Posted by Lava_Lady on 10 March, 2013, 20:16
I'm curious to know what it looked like and how big it was. This is the neanderthal of the dog world.
Comment icon #4 Posted by marcos anthony toledo on 10 March, 2013, 21:19
Yes a reconstruction of head to see what it looked like in life would have been appreciated.
Comment icon #5 Posted by DieChecker on 11 March, 2013, 20:18
Excuse my ignorance but how do you decide it was a hybrid and early domesticated dog aside from a lineage that has become extinct? The article says how... In 2011, an anatomical analysis ..... one of the oldest ancestors of the modern dog ever discovered. The research team compared their sample of mitochondrial DNA... sharing the most similarities with Tibetian Mastiffs, Newfoundlands and Siberian Huskies in particular.
Comment icon #6 Posted by HeartsAreForBreaking on 12 March, 2013, 6:27
I haven't read the whole thing but this is fascinating for me personally, my dog is a Scotch Collie and wolf mix. Wolves are larger than most domestic breeds, no? Mine has the general skull shape of a Collie, but her head takes up nearly my entire lap, and all together she weighs more than I do. She's a sweet old thing, and it's funny to think she could just as easily be running around with a pack right now as she is laying at the foot of my bed.
Comment icon #7 Posted by regeneratia on 19 March, 2013, 17:47
So thankful for dogs!! There is no love like the love for a pet. Loving your dog deepens your love matrix.


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