Scientists believe dogs are over 31,000 years old

by Clare Jones on October 19, 2008

According to the recent ITV show starring Martin Clunes, dogs are descended from wolves and every dog in the home today is 99.8% wolf. However scientists have just made a discovery that suggests the origins of dogs and their associations with humans may be even longer ago than first thought. They’ve discovered the remains of a dog that is thought to be 31,700 years old, which is 14,000 years older than what was previously thought to be the first dog.

Scientists discovered remains of the dog in a cave in Belgium. From their findings, they believe that the first dogs lived on a diet of horses, ox and reindeer.

Mietje Germonpré, one of the palaeontologists involved in the discovery, said:

In shape, the Paleolithic dogs most resemble the Siberian husky, but in size, however, they were somewhat larger, probably comparable to large shepherd dogs.

The Paleolithic dogs had wider and shorter snouts and relatively wider brain cases than fossil and recent wolves.

According to the studies carried out, they believe that there was a substantial wolf population that allowed the genetic diversity within the dogs.

I think it is possible that the dogs were used for tracking, hunting, and transport of game.

Transport could have been organized using the dogs as pack animals. Furthermore, the dogs could have been kept for their fur or meat, as pets, or as an animal with ritual connotation.

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"Scientists believe dogs are over 31,000 years old" was written by Clare Jones
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