Dogs have been Man’s Best Friend for at Least 8,000 Years
A new study published in the journal Plos One has revealed that human beings have held close bonds with domesticated dogs for at least 8,000 years.
A team of biologists, anthropologists and archaeologists teamed up to investigate the nature of the human-dog relationship throughout the ages by analysing previously excavated remains of dogs around the world. Genetic analyses and skull comparisons revealed that the remains were in fact domesticated dogs and not wolves, with most specimens closely resembling large Siberian huskies, some dating back as early as the Early Neolithic period 7,000 – 8,000 years ago..
The most fascinating finding was that ancient societies not only domesticated dogs for practical benefits, but they appeared to have close bonds with their canine companions. Evidence of this was found at burial sites where dogs were found buried immediately next to humans in graves which included various items or tools seemingly intended for the dogs. One dog was adorned with a red deer tooth necklace around its neck and another was buried with a toy in its mouth.
Further analysis revealed that the humans and dogs had similar diets, both of which were rich in fish. Researchers have suggested that this indicates food sharing.
The authors have concluded from the nature of the burials and similarities in diet that man and dog held close personal relationships, both emotional and social, where dogs were not just utilised as hunters, guardians or work animals, but were also important and valued companions.