Researcher finds oldest known domesticated dog in Americas





Samuel Belknap III, a graduate research assistant working under the direction of Kristin Sobolik in UMaine’s Department of Anthropology and Climate Change Institute, found a 9,400-year-old skull fragment of a domestic dog during analysis of an intact human paleofecal sample.

The fact that the bone was found in human waste provides the earliest proof that humans in the New World used domesticated dogs as food sources.

“This is an important scientific discovery that can tell us not only a lot about the genetic history of dogs but of the interactions between humans and dogs in the past,” said Belknap. “Not only were they most likely companions as they are today, they served as protection, hunting assistants, and also as a food source.”

Belknap’s discovery will first be documented in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology as well as other scientific journals.

At the time Belknap found the bone, he had not set out to discover anything new about ancient animals, but was instead conducting his thesis research on ancient diet and nutrition of humans during the Holocene Era in the Lower Pecos Region of Texas....


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