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FIRST DOGS, FIRST PEOPLE IN AMERICA

 

Archaeologists assumed that original dogs came with early humans who migrated from northeast Asia across the Bering Land Bridge into North America, today there is proof.

 

February 1, 2022

Barbara J. Andrews, Editor-In-Chief, SAAB

 

Migration was during the Paleoindian period and until recently, there was no archeological proof that dogs accompanied primitive people on that historic journey. Then, in 2021 a 10,000-year-old bone was found next to human remains at a cave in Alaska.

 

FIRST DOGS, FIRST PEOPLE IN AMERICA

 

The Alaska bone was first thought to be that of a bear but when University of Buffalo geneticists did in-depth DNA analysis they discovered the bone was from a dog. That changes things... in fact 5,000 year old dog skeletons have since been found buried with humans in what is now Sweden and just recently, 6,000-year-old human and dog bones were found together in Saudi Arabia.

 

In both cases, the dog’s joint capsules and bones showed distinctive signs of arthritis. This anomaly proves it was a pet because wild dogs rarely live long enough to have bone or joint problems.

 

So, whether the dog was created or evolved from the wolf, we know dogs have been at our side for countless centuries. What we don’t know is whether we became partners to them or vice versa.

 

Either way, it was a helluva long walk for those people who came from Asia 12,000 to 15,000 years ago into what is now Alaska.

 

 

 

Those first American immigrants scattered hither and yon but always moving south. They hiked past Plymouth Rock without notice - it would be centuries before that landmark became part of history. The primitive humans of the Clovis Culture had “itchy feet” so they continued on to what is now known as “the great southwest” comprising Arizona, Texas and New Mexico. And yes, the dog, being so loyal (even back then they probably worried about us) went with them.

 

The “moving motivation” was climate and an increasingly varied food source. Having tasted fruit and berries along the way (their first sweets?) primitive humans instinctively kept moving southward, lured by warmer temperatures and an increasing variety of meat on the hoof.

 

We know this because archeologists have (literally) uncovered evidence that the first “immigrants” into North America captured and kept turkeys for food and for feathers with which they began to adorn themselves. That basic addition to the furs and skins they wore was to became known as a “headdress” or war bonnet depending on the occasion.

 

 

Two significant things here... the turkeys were protected by primitive man’s dogs and the bones of those first domestic dogs were carefully arranged when they were buried.

 

That very fact that the dogs were buried is significant proof that they were loved and valued as friends! Think about that. Primitive humans didn’t have shovels and they had to have significantly evolved to even think about caring one way or the other.

 

Moving on... in our human DNA is something we call itchy feet. Unlike animals that migrate, we explore and the older we get, anthropologically speaking, the further we want to go. Like to the moon!

 

But 'back then' we humans made the trek to South America. According to anthropologist Tom Dillehay (Vanderbilt University) that was about 11,000 years ago. Was that when dogs “originated” in South America? Perhaps, we can be sure that those first people took their newfound canine companions with them as they worked their way south.

 

In fact, on the long trek southward, following food and warmth, dogs changed human evolution!

 

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