Researchers uncover 'oldest' dog remains in Swiss cave

A German Shepherd
This 2008 photo shows a German Shepherd. Researchers have found that fragments of a dog's skull and teeth discovered in a cave in Switzerland date back more than 14,000 years in what could be the oldest known remains of man's best friend.

Researchers have found that fragments of a dog's skull and teeth discovered in a cave in Switzerland date back more than 14,000 years in what could be the oldest known remains of man's best friend.

The fossils were among a haul of archaeological finds uncovered in 1873 in the Kesslerloch cave in northern Switzerland, Swiss news agency ATS said Monday.

But it was only last year that researchers at Germany's Tuebingen University took a closer look at them, it said.

"During a recent re-analysis of the faunal remains, we identified a cranial fragment and teeth of the domestic dog," the researchers said in an article in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology.

"The large maxillar fragment was directly dated to ...14,100-14,600 BP (Before Present)," it said.

"We argue that the maxilla fragment must now be considered the earliest indisputable directly dated evidence of a domestic dog," they said.

Belgian have claimed to have found the cranium of a dog dating back 30,000 years, but researcher Hannes Napierala told ATS: "We are skeptical because the are very similar to those of a wolf."

The fragment found in the cave in Switzerland's Schaffhausen canton, however, was clearly distinct from remains of , the researchers said.


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Aug 02, 2010
Just as the non-darwinians said: dogs have always been dogs. I have acopy of Colbert ('01) here. Sure enough, p. 313 shows "adaptive radiation" of placental mammals coming from a very imprecise center. Or check out Fig. 10.47 of Benton ('05) or Denton Figure 8.3
Mammals have always been mammals.

Aug 02, 2010
Mammals have always been mammals.
Then explain the platypus.

Aug 02, 2010
Congratulations! Nobel prize in biology is on the way! I'm so happy for you!

Aug 02, 2010
Just to clarify - the remains of the dog, it is the oldest known remains of a dog where there was proof that the actual dog in question was domesticated, or the oldest known remains of a species of dog that was domesticated? I would have thought there would be a lot of evidence that dog domestication existed much longer than 14,000 years ago.. I guess not though.

Aug 02, 2010
Wow. Many thanks, furlong! Aside from your anemic sarcasm, you never explained "mammal evolution." I am so surprised. Did you bother to look up my citations? I'm sure you have because you love science and you're open to what secular science says. That's why I went to secular college & university - where my faith was openly denigrated by a # of open-minded professors. One thing I didn't hear was scientific evidence for macroevolution.
Allow me to add this in regard to "mammal evolution" - it's only assumed the various synapsid groups are connected in a phylogenetic sense and there are - in fact - substantial differences between them, especially between the early pelycosaurs & later therapsids: fossils don't show a transition from 1 to the other (as predicted by the non-darwinian model).

Aug 02, 2010
Mabarker, my sarcasm isn't the only thing that's anemic. Wait, that doesn't work too well. You really should take that anemic sarcasm to heart, because your comments show how "out of your depth" you are. A perusal of your citations is not in order here, for the same reason that I do not rush to look at satellite photos of the North Pole when a child insists with great conviction that Santa exists there. If you are going to make outlandish statements that falsify entire swaths of biology then you need to expect to be denigrated, or grow a thicker hide. That's why I used that anemic sarcasm. I also used it because I don't have a very good sense of humor, but that's my problem.

Aug 02, 2010
Has there ever been a documented case of a new species popping into existence out of thin air? If so proove it, fundie.

Aug 02, 2010
I'm sure you have because you love science and you're open to what secular science says. That's why I went to secular college & university - where my faith was openly denigrated by a # of open-minded professors. One thing I didn't hear was scientific evidence for macroevolution.
Allow me to add this in regard to "mammal evolution" ... fossils don't show a transition from 1 to the other (as predicted by the non-darwinian model).

Then you obviously were not a good study. There are millions of transistional forms and the evolution between reptiles and mammals is one of the most beautifully constructed sets within phylogeny. The "non-darwinian model" is spontaneous generation which was proved false by Pasteur.

Aug 02, 2010
I try to think favourably of mabarker and Phideaux and others of like mind but I find it extremely difficult.

I had to put up with a science teacher in my senior year at High School that believed the world was created by someone only a few thousand years ago and for many years afterwards I could only sneer at such stupidity.

I no long sneer and am not even greatly surprised. The persistence and blindness of my fellow man is now a burden that I have to live with.

But given that please do not change the evidence to suit your version of the facts. I have seen countless compilations of skeletal remains that seem to be almost unbroken transitions from one form to another across a number of different animals, many of which are now extinct.

Aug 02, 2010
About what time did humans start sheepherding/rayndeerherding? I would think that shepherdogs/sleddogs belongs to a nomadic lifestyle that could have predated neolithic agriculture

Aug 07, 2010
I think that maybe the Belgium dog remains could be that of an early offspring which would still have traits of a wolf but on its way to being a domestic dog.

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