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Early dogs

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gcle2003 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Early dogs
    Posted: 05 Aug 2011 at 00:14
Off my usual beat, but interesting I thought.

A very well-preserved 33,000 year old canine skull from a cave in the Siberian Altai mountains shows some of the earliest evidence of dog domestication ever found.

But the specimen raises doubts about early man's loyalty to his new best friend as times got tough.

Citizen of Ankh-Morpork.

Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dolphin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2011 at 04:27
One study does not a fact make..

We relied on Musil's [14]informed interpretation and English translation of Pokorný's [18] original Czech-language report on Předmosti wolves, especially in determining that Pokorný's [18] measurement “P” (longest snout length) rather than “Q” (shortest snout length) was equivalent to the snout length dimension used in this analysis (#12 as defined by von den Driesch [13]), as Pokorný [18] did not provide a diagram. Actual measurements and two index ratios commonly used in such taxonomic studies (snout width and tooth crowding) were used for comparison [19][20]

The tooth crowding index for the mandible of the Razboinichya canid is 54.94, well below the values for Clark's [20] Neolithic dog sample (range 86.3–103.0) and thus more like modern wolf. However, although Benecke [34] reports slight tooth crowding (index value 99.4) for a small proportion of Předmosti wolf mandibles [34], the index for the “uncrowded” sample is also very high (91.2): both are more like Clark's[20] Neolithic dogs than modern wolves even though the teeth are larger than modern wolves. Such high overall values suggest that the tooth crowding index may be of limited usefulness in distinguishing early dogs unless there is associated corroborative evidence.

Therefore, while the skull falls within the metric criteria of Neolithic and later dogs, the carnassial teeth of the Razboinichya canid are not markedly smaller than those of wolves nor are the tooth rows as distinctly crowded as Neolithic dogs. We conclude, therefore, that this specimen may represent a dog in the very early stages of domestication, i.e. an “incipient” dog, rather than an aberrant wolf. As this canid material pre-dates the LGM and additional putative dogs are not found until thousands of years later, in the late Glacial – early Holocene (ca. 14,000–11,500 cal BP), we conclude that the lineage represented by the incipient dog from Razboinichya Cave did not survive the LGM.


BBC seems to me to have bought into the "suggestions" of this article and made them into fact. This study merely suggests that the canid skull falls generally into a set of accepted size values of both some wolves and ancient dog breeds, and thus may be an intermediate wolf breed that may have become so through casual human interaction. It could, on the other hand, be just a young wolf with an unusually shaped skull.

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