New Evidence That Humans Have Loved Dogs Since…

The remains of a woman, a man, and two dogs have been found in Bonn-Oberkassel, Germany, dating to some 14,000 years ago. The burial is the oldest known example of dogs being buried alongside humans. It gives early evidence about dog domestication, and demonstrates that the dogs were very well taken care of.

A study of the younger dog’s teeth show it died at 27 or 28 weeks old, after contracting canine distemper as a 19-week-old puppy. Distemper kills almost all puppies within weeks, even with proper veterinary care, so it seems this puppy was well looked after. To have kept it alive for so long would mean having kept the puppy warm, clean, well-fed, and well-watered, all while there was no hope of the dog ever becoming a working animal, and repaying its care.

The teeth study, and the placement of the dogs with their owners, suggests humans and dogs shared a unique and close relationship as early as 14,000 years ago.