Recently, Koster, a city from Illinois was under the spotlight. Scientists made an important archaeological discovery that can contribute to solving the present day canine DNA mystery. They found the remains of what seems to be the oldest dogs from the American continent. The story’s initial setting is placed 10,000 years ago in a pre-historical site which turned into the modern Koster.
It looks like even back then dogs were considered loyal and trustworthy pets. People considered them family members, so when a canine friend would die, it was buried next to the deceased members of the family, in their own graves.
These findings are not surprising, because modern people also see their dogs as part of their family. However, this type of behavior wasn’t expected to be seen in ancient families. So far, scientists manage to find out that these remains are the oldest canines ever found in the Americas. Also, they might be the key towards revealing important scientific mysteries connected to canines.
What happened with today’s dogs ancestors
Studies conducted until now show that European pups which arrived in the 1500s replaced their North American ancestors (like the one buried 10,000 years ago at Koster). Surprisingly, it looks like these ancient dogs carried transmissible canine venereal tumours.
Furthermore, the researchers are trying to find out when dogs were domesticated and turned into pets. They know for a fact that all modern dogs all descend from grey wolves, but the debate is still open for the historical moment when people got them around their living places.
From the moment dogs became pets, braids were crossed and over the years many types of dogs were born. The Koster remains will support the scientists’ initiative to determine the exact time and place when wild animals became men’s best friends.