Monday, January 30, 2012

Domestication of Dogs Over 30,000 years ago

In the last couple of weeks, I have seen a stream of news reports gushing about new evidence for the domestication of dogs as long as 33,000 years ago. As far as I can tell, the research they are referring to is this article published in the prestigious open access journal PLoSOne. What seems strange to me is all the fuss about an article that, according to the journal, was published back in July 2011.

Having glanced at the article, I would say that the radiocarbon dating seems unassailable. The other important question is whether the remains are really of a dog or of some other animal. I cannot reliably judge their assertion that it is a dog because the argument is based on an analysis of the evolution of canine cranial physiology, about which I personally know nothing.

If there's another article out there that I missed, let me know. Or if you have any thoughts about how slow the press can be in picking up a story, which then spreads like an epidemic.

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