Sunday, July 3, 2011

Germany Scientists' Identify World’s Oldest Dog Bone

German scientists have identified the world’s oldest dog bone, proving that humans kept dogs more than 14,000 years ago, Tuebingen University said Tuesday. The canine jaw was found in Switzerland in 1873, but has only just been analysed by researchers across the border in Tuebingen. The findings were reported in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology.

The dog lived between 14,100 and 14,600 years ago, according to archaeologists Hannes Napierala and Hans-Peter Uerpmann. “At this time, humans were still hunter-gatherers,” Napierala said.

The size of the fangs convinced the research team that the animal was a dog, not a wolf. The jaw and remaining teeth also differ from those of a wolf. Dogs developed from wolves when they were tamed and domesticated by man.

The find shed no further light on when man began to tame wolves but indicated that the process was well underway 14,000 years ago, as the dog bones had already evolved differently from their wild ancestors.Source