Is this Europe’s first hunting dog? Jawbone of a huge dog that is 1.8 MILLION years old has been discovered next to human remains in Georgia
- The jawbone of a young adult Eurasian hunting dog was found in Dmanisi
- Experts have dated the dog’s remains to about 1.77-1.76 million years ago
- This predates the widespread spread of hunting dogs from Asia to Europe
- The finds also suggest the dogs lived alongside early humans in Georgia Georgië
The jawbone of a huge dog from 1.8 million years ago has been found next to human remains in Georgia — and could be Europe’s first hunting dog, a study has claimed.
Experts led by the University of Florence analyzed remains freshly collected from the Dmanisi . Archaeological Site, which previously yielded several hominin skulls.
They concluded that the remains belong to the species Canis (Xenocyon) lycaonoides – the “Eurasian hunting dog” – which originated in East Asia.
The Dmanisi dog, the team said, could be the ancestor of African hunting dogs — and likely coexisted with early humans in Georgia before spreading more widely.
The jawbone of a huge dog from 1.8 million years ago has been found next to human remains in Georgia — and could be Europe’s first hunting dog, a study has claimed. Pictured: An artist’s impression of a pack of Eurasian hounds chasing prey
Researchers have concluded that the remains (pictured) belong to the species Canis (Xenocyon) lycaonoides – the ‘Eurasian hunting dog’ – which originated in East Asia
Dmanisi is an archaeological site in the Kvemo Kartli region of Georgia.
Dating back to 1.8 million years ago, it provided the first direct evidence of early humans outside of Africa.
These specimens — including several skulls and four skeletons — have been identified as early examples of the species Homo erectus.
The study of the large dog’s remains was conducted by vertebrate paleontologist Saverio Bartolini-Lucenti of the University of Florence, Italy, and his colleagues.
According to their analysis, the bones date between 1.77-1.76 million years ago – making this the earliest known case of a hunting dog in Europe.
According to the researchers, it actually predates the widespread movement of hunting dogs from their origins in Asia west to Europe and Africa during the mid-Pleistocene epoch.
Based on the lack of wear on the Dmanisi dog’s teeth, the researchers concluded that it was a young adult, albeit large, weighing about 30 kg (66 lbs).
Analysis of the dog’s dental features also showed similarities with other wild canine species – ‘canids’ – from the same period.
They have narrower and shorter third premolars than omnivores and an enlarged and sharp ‘carnassial’ tooth in the center of the jaw that would have served to shred food.
These characteristics allowed experts to identify these canids as highly carnivorous animals, eating a diet consisting of at least 70 percent meat.
The Dmanisi dog, the team said, could be the ancestor of African hunting dogs — and likely coexisted with early humans in Georgia before spreading more widely. Pictured: An artistic impression of a group of Homo erectus living at the Dmanisi site
Based on the lack of wear on the Dmanisi dog’s teeth (pictured), the researchers concluded that it was a young adult, albeit large, weighing about 30 kg (66 lbs)
“A lot of fossil evidence suggests that this species was a cooperative pack hunter,” the researchers wrote in their paper.
‘Unlike other large canids, [it] was capable of social care for relatives and unrelated members of his group.’
The study’s full findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Experts led by the University of Florence analyzed remains freshly collected at the Dmanisi archaeological site, which previously yielded several hominin skulls
DOGS WERE FIRST HOUSED ABOUT 20,000 to 40,000 YEARS AGO
A genetic analysis of the world’s oldest known dog remains revealed that dogs were domesticated at one time by humans living in Eurasia, about 20,000 to 40,000 years ago.
dr. Krishna Veeramah, an assistant professor of evolution at Stony Brook University, told MailOnline: “The process of domesticating dogs would have been a very complex one, involving several generations with distinctive canine traits gradually evolving.
The current hypothesis is that the domestication of dogs probably arose passively, with a population of wolves somewhere in the world living on the fringes of hunter-gatherer camps feeding on man-made waste.
“The wolves that were tamer and less aggressive would have had more success in this, and while the humans initially didn’t benefit from this process at all, over time they would have developed a kind of symbiotic development. [mutually beneficial] relationship with these animals, eventually evolving into the dogs we see today.’