Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Woof, Woof! New Evidence of Earliest Domesticated "American" Dog

In case you haven't guessed during the past three plus years I've been blogging, I am a dog lover.  Dogs hold a special place in my heart as great pets, and also as the companion/harbinger of the Goddess.  As my readers also know (from reading this brilliant blog, ahem, if they didn't know it before), in the Middle East in ancient times some gaming pieces were called "dogs" - and I'm not just talking about Hounds and Jackals. 

Now, some games historians might argue that the pieces were called "dogs" because of a hunting connection or even, possibly, a racing connection (you know the drill - "there were three different types of early 'board' games:  hunting games, race games, and games of skill," blah blah blah. Dogs were used in hunting, and dogs were also raced - although I'm not certain they were necessarily raced in ancient times.

But we all know that the real reason the early game pieces were called dogs was because of the canine's close connection to the Goddess and because the games were often used as oracles/fortune telling/divination devices to make inquiries of the Goddess.  In that role, the "dog" pieces took on the role of the Goddess' harbingers. 

Here is the article, it made me sick to my stomach to think my canine friends were eaten like a - a - COW. Oh, ick! And, of course, there are still cultures today that eat dogs. To keep a proper perspective, however, there are cultures who think of anyone who eats beef as a barbarian. So, there you go. Pick your cultural poison and - chomp, chomp... okay, that was in poor taste. But funny, damn!

Researcher finds oldest known domesticated dog in Americas
January 11, 2011 ( -- A University of Maine graduate student has discovered evidence of the oldest identifiable domestic dog in the Americas.

Samuel Belknap III, a graduate research assistant working under the direction of Kristin Sobolik in UMaine’s Department of Anthropology and Climate Change Institute, found a 9,400-year-old skull fragment of a domestic dog during analysis of an intact human paleofecal sample.

The fact that the bone was found in human waste provides the earliest proof that humans in the New World used domesticated dogs as food sources.

“This is an important scientific discovery that can tell us not only a lot about the genetic history of dogs but of the interactions between humans and dogs in the past,” said Belknap. “Not only were they most likely companions as they are today, they served as protection, hunting assistants, and also as a food source.”

Belknap’s discovery will first be documented in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology as well as other scientific journals.

At the time Belknap found the bone, he had not set out to discover anything new about ancient animals, but was instead conducting his thesis research on ancient diet and nutrition of humans during the Holocene Era in the Lower Pecos Region of Texas.

“I didn’t start out looking for the oldest dog in the New World,” Belknap said. “I started out trying to understand human diet in southwest Texas. It so happens that this person who lived 9,400 years ago was eating dog. It just goes to show that sometimes, great scientific discoveries come not when we are looking for specific answers but when we are thorough we are in our examination of the evidence and open to what data it provides.”

He discovered the bone, known as BE-20, during the 2009-2010 academic school year while examining a paleofecal sample recovered in the 1970s from Hinds Cave, a major archeological site in southwest Texas near the Mexico border.

Belknap and fellow UMaine graduate student Robert Ingraham first visually identified the bone as a fragment of the right occipital condyle, the place where the skull articulates with the atlas vertebra of the spine. Ingraham also visually identified the bone at Harvard University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, which indicated that the fragment closely matched that of a short-nosed Indian Dog from New Mexico.
Okay, I have an immediate problem with this article. Someone ate a dog. But, someone not only ate a dog, he (or she) ate a piece of bone large enough to be readily identifiable as a part of a dog's skull - in fact as part of a dog's right occipital condyle, the place where the skull articulates with the atlas vertebra of the spine, as well? Now this I find hard to believe. The conclusion that a HUMAN ate a dog is based on the fact that the dog bone fragment was found in some petrified human poop recovered (I hesitate to use the word "excavated" in this particular circumstance) from a Texas cave in the 1970's and laying around all these years. Er, well, okay....

How do they know a HUMAN ate a dog, and that the dog's bone wasn't deposited in some other manner on top of the human poop? Just saying. I know people ate and do continue to eat dogs - but I am not convinced that this particular doggy was eaten and its remains pooped out by a HUMAN. Has a DNA study been conducted to attempt to identify the CONTENTS of the petrified poop?  I mean, if the doggy's bone fragment was preserved, surely DNA of the digested content remains was preserved as well?

If that doggy was eaten by a HUMAN, I sure as hell hope that HUMAN suffered agonies and died an excruciating death as the doggy's bone fragment passed through his (or her) intestines and then through the bowel to be pooped out into that cave.

And that's another thing - why would anyone poop inside a cave in which one lived? I mean, people didn't say, oh excuse me, I have to go poop in the cave now and leave the camp site outside. You don't poop in your living room, and I'm pretty sure humans back then didn't do that either. Hmmmm...

Edited on January 21, 2011 to add the following link - for further information.  To summarize, the piece of dog bone found in the petrified of human poop was, according to this article, stained a color that indicates that it was, indeed, ingested by a human and expelled in the, er, usual way (not via vomiting, in other words). 

Old dog, new tricks: Study IDs 9,400-year-old mutt
By CLARKE CANFIELD, Associated Press Clarke Canfield, Associated Press – Wed Jan 19, 8:58 am ET

1 comment:

Unknown said... sow and bury, with the implication of breeding, as the toca=Dukha deer people, making dog(E) a word coming out of the time of agriculture/deer culture, 45k bce-10k bce.
but, alco(Nauatl)=mute, short-nosed dog for eating, burning and burying with master for journey to Mictlan,land of the dead, is earlier, as,
aco(Nauatl)=ago(E)=ages ago(E).
A(l)konquin(Tribe Amerind)=
elevate oneself in dignity, grow,
gain, obtain an advantage from,
aco quiza(N)=ago squeeze(E), or,
simply, who/-qui(N/Lat) Aco/ago,
long ago...another verb similar=
coq(Fr)=rise as waves/prices.

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