Where in the hell am I?

January 19, 2011

Dogs, poop, and archaeology in the news

Filed under: archaeology, archeology, Texas — Tags: , , , , , , — John @ 10:25 pm

Since I’ve blogged on here several times about the canine skeleton we recovered at Fort Hood last year, I thought I would share this link about the earliest evidence for dogs in the Americas.

The bone fragment was found in a coprolite from Hinds Cave, in Texas. According to the article, it was radiocarbon dated to 9,400 yrs BP, or roughly 7450 BC. DNA analysis confirmed it came from a dog, rather than another similar species such as coyote, wolf, or fox. And, since the fragment was found in a coprolite mound (aka a pile of poop), it shows that people not only had dogs back then but also ate them occasionally.

Since the actual research paper won’t be published until later this year (which prompted my boss to revive an old quote about “archaeology by press conference”), I can only say that I like forward to the full paper.

Some brief comments:

– the chunk of bone was 0.6 inches by ~0.35 inches (roughly 1.5 cm by 1 cm), or as the article says, around the size of a pinkie fingernail. I can’t imagine swallowing or passing a chunk of bone that size, although I do know that like many young children, I swallowed at least one penny in my toddler years.

– the bone is from where the skull meets the spinal column. This area has almost no meat and would be extremely low on the calories recovered/effort expended scale. I suppose that area of the skull could be fractured during butchering and mixed in with neck meat…speaking from no experience with butchering animals, or eating dog for that matter. Of course, the area isn’t exactly rich with food and there’s abundant coprolite evidence from Hinds Cave for being, “none-too-picky about what they ate” (see the Hinds Cave link above), including whole lizards and rodents and meat with fur still attached.

– I’m pretty happy about getting to blog about archaeology and poop 🙂

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1 Comment »

  1. Dig your blog. You made it onto the list of the top 30 archeology blogs of 2011 at thebestcolleges.org. Congrats!

    http://www.thebestcolleges.org/top-archaeology-blogs/

    Comment by jalder — February 4, 2011 @ 11:38 am


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