America’s oldest dog discovery

❝ Some 10,000 years ago, in what is now Koster, Illinois, a dog died. Its adopted group of hunter gatherers carefully laid the pup to rest in its own grave among their buried human dead, curled on its side as if it were asleep.

Today, this may not seem surprising — after all, modern dogs are often more “fur baby” than pet. But this ancient Illinois dog, and a duo of other canines buried right nearby, are remarkable: They’re the oldest known individually buried canines found anywhere in the world, according to new research on the pre-print server Biorxiv. What’s more, they provide the earliest physical evidence for dogs in the Americas.

❝ The remains of these creatures has also proved key to solving an important canine conundrum: What happened to the dogs of ancient North America? Did they intermix with dogs brought by European settlers? And what breeds today can call them ancestors? A second new study, published in the journal Science, uses a battery of DNA analyses of both modern and ancient canines to search for clues.

Dogs are an important part of my extended family’s life. Lots of reasons. Lots of personal family tales. Many of you probably have similar tales, experiences in your own life.

I can tell you names of dogs living with folks I follow on Twitter – when I can’t recall names of their partners or children. 🙂 Right, Cooper? Right, J.K.Growling?

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