Domestication of dogs may explain mammoth kill sites and success of early modern humans

June 1, 2014 11:27 AM

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Domestication of dogs may explain mammoth kill sites and success of early modern humans

A new analysis of European archaeological sites containing large numbers of dead mammoths and dwellings built with mammoth bones has led Penn State Professor Emerita Pat Shipman to formulate a new interpretation of how these sites were formed. She suggests that their abrupt appearance may have been due to early modern humans working with the earliest domestic dogs to kill the now-extinct mammoth -- a now-extinct animal distantly related to the modern-day elephant. Shipman's analysis also provides a way to test the predictions of her new hypothesis. Advance publication of her article "How do you kill 86 mammoths?" is available online through Quaternary International.

Spectacular archaeological sites yielding stone tools and extraordinary numbers of dead mammoths -- some containing the remains of hundreds of individuals -- suddenly became common in central and eastern Eurasia between about 45,000 and 15,000 years ago, although mammoths previously had been hunted ...

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