Traces of Italy's oldest domestic dog were recently discovered in one of Italy's most important paleolithic sites on the Gargano peninsula (Puglia).
The exclusive find, by a team of Italian and French researchers coordinated by the University of Siena, and published in “Scientific Reports”, dates the fragments of dog teeth to between 14,000 and 20,000 years ago, several eras prior to dog bones and teeth found in Central and Western Europe, and before the establishment of settled agricultural communities.
Scientists believe that wild dogs, or wolves, originally attached themselves to humans to scavenge food and gradually became hunting partners and watchdogs.
This is not the first sensational find yielded by the Grotta Paglicci cave at Rignano Garganico (near Foggia, Puglia) which is decorated with prehistoric wall paintings of horses and handprints. Artefacts found in the cave include various animals and hunting scenes carved on bone, as well as a stone pestle and traces of wild wheat dating back 32,000 years, proving that pre-agricultural hunter-gatherer societies already practised food preparation.
Info: www.nature.com www.gargano.it/grotta-paglicci/