In a recent paper submitted to the Journal of Archaeological Science, paleontologists at Predmostí announced the discovery of the remains of three dogs from the Paleolithic era. For you non-archaeologists, Predmostí is a fossil site located in the Moravian region of what is today known as theCzech Republic. It is thought to be 24,000 to 27,000 years old.
Archaeologists believe Predmostí was a living area with a burial ground. Human and non-human remains have been unearthed. These include mammoth (over 1,000 of them), bear, reindeer, ice-age horse, wolf, wolverine and hare. Predmostí consists of dwellings, hearths and a cemetery. In addition to the remains, stone and bone tools and artifacts including figurines have been found at the site.
Paleontologists who studied the remains of the three dogs found at Predmostí first had to determine whether they were wolves, dogs, or some other type of canid. The skulls of the dogs show clear signs of domestication. They are much shorter than those of wolves, as are the snouts. The brain cases and palates are wider than those of wolves. The shape of the skulls is similar to that of a Siberian husky, but larger and heavier. The researchers determined the dogs were large in side – nearly 80 pounds – with a shoulder height of at least two feet.