33,000-year-old dog skull found

THE skull of a dog that lived 33,000 years ago has been uncovered by scientists, illustrating some of the earliest evidence of domestication of the animal.

It was discovered in a cave in the Siberian Altai Mountains by an international team of archaeologists. It shows very few characteristics of modern dogs. While its snout is similar to that of Greenland dogs of 1,000 years ago, its teeth would have resembled wild European wolves.

The modern day version of this dog would be the Siberian Samoyed.

The process of the domestication of wolves was not deliberate according to Dr Susan Crockford of Pacific Identifications and one of the authors of the study. “The process of making a wolf into a dog was a natural one as they would follow human groups and clean up scraps and were useful to humans for fending off predators.”

However, when the ice age hit this co-dependency between man and wolf/dog seemed to end due to food being in short supply, scientists believe, setting back the domestication of dogs by as much as 20,000 years.

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