World’s first dog lived 31,700 years ago, ate big

By | October 21, 2008

In shape, the Paleolithic dogs most resembled the Siberian husky …, researchers say, but in size, they were somewhat larger, probably comparable to large shepherd dogs. An international team of scientists has just identified what they believe is the world’s first known dog, which was a large and toothy canine that lived 31,700 years ago and subsisted on a diet of horse, musk ox and reindeer, according to a new study.

The discovery could push back the date for the earliest dog by 17,700 years, since the second oldest known dog, found in Russia, dates to 14,000 years ago.

Remains for the older prehistoric dog, which were excavated at Goyet Cave in Belgium, suggest to the researchers that the Aurignacian people of Europe from the Upper Paleolithic period first domesticated dogs. Fine jewelry and tools, often decorated with depictions of big game animals, characterize this culture. – msnbc

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