Ancient humans in Europe may have stolen food from wild hunting dogs

2 months ago 21
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By Krista Charles

artist's reconstruction of chaotic  dog

Artist’s content of a battalion of Eurasian hunting dogs chasing prey

Mauricio Antón with scientific supervision by D. Lordkipanidze and B. Martínez-Navarro

The earliest humans known to person lived extracurricular Africa shared their situation with hunting dogs – and whitethorn adjacent person stolen nutrient from them.

For galore years, archaeologists person been excavating astatine a tract adjacent Dmanisi successful Georgia, wherever they person recovered grounds that past humans – sometimes enactment successful the taxon Homo erectus – were contiguous astir 1.8 cardinal years ago. The Dmanisi humans supply the earliest fossil grounds yet recovered of hominins extracurricular Africa.

But arsenic past humans moved retired of Africa, it looks similar they encountered prehistoric hunting dogs that were moving into Africa, due to the fact that the remains of 1 specified canine has present been unearthed astatine Dmanisi.

Saverio Bartolini-Lucenti astatine the University of Florence, Italy, and his colleagues analysed the remains, which came from a young big Eurasian hunting canine (Canis (Xenocyon) lycaonoides), an extinct taxon of hunting canine related to modern African hunting dogs (Lycaon pictus).

“Picture an African hunting dog, but stouter with agelong limbs similar an Irish wolfhound, but not truthful thin,” says Bartolini-Lucenti.

This peculiar carnal would person lived astir 1.8 cardinal years ago, making it the earliest ever recovered successful Europe.

These chaotic dogs are believed to person originated successful Asia, spreading into and crossed Europe and Africa betwixt astir 1.8 and 0.8 cardinal years ago.

“Finding it successful Dmanisi – which is an important tract astatine the verge, the borderline of 3 continents (Asia, Africa and Europe) – is absorbing due to the fact that it is astatine a timeframe wherever we didn’t person immoderate occurrences of this form,” says Bartolini-Lucenti.

Modern African hunting dogs person adapted to devour their prey precise rapidly earlier it tin beryllium stolen by larger, stronger predators, specified arsenic lions and hyenas. The Eurasian hunting dogs whitethorn person interacted with aboriginal humans successful a akin way, says Bartolini-Lucenti, with the humans scaring disconnected the dogs to bargain their prey.

Working retired however 2 past taxon interacted is difficult, “especially erstwhile the fossil grounds is poor”, says Marco Cherin astatine the University of Perugia successful Italy. “But I americium assured that the grounds from Dmanisi whitethorn connection caller surprises successful the future, and this insubstantial represents a bully beginning.”

Journal reference: Scientific Reports, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-92818-4

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