Ice Age hunters’ leftovers might have fueled canine domestication

Someday between round 29,000 and 14,000 years in the past, hunter-gatherers navigating northern Eurasia’s frigid landscapes turned wolves into canines by feeding them lean-meat leftovers.

That, at the very least, is a probable state of affairs that might have benefited each wolves and other people, say archaeologist Maria Lahtinen of the Finnish Meals Authority in Helsinki and colleagues. In harsh Ice Age winters, when recreation hunted by each species was lean and fat-free, prey animals would have offered extra protein than people may safely devour, the researchers conclude January 7 in Scientific Experiences. Folks may have fed surplus lean meat to captured wolf pups being raised as pets as a result of the animals wouldn’t have had the identical dietary limitations, the group proposes.

That concept is essentially primarily based on inferences from earlier analysis on how historic hunter-gatherers survived in arctic environments and new calculations suggesting that, for dietary causes, Ice Age teams couldn’t have eaten the entire lean meat that was hunted. Although removed from the ultimate phrase on the controversial origins of canines (SN: 5/21/15), Lahtinen’s group provides a novel tackle how that course of might have unfolded.

The researchers’ calculations assume that, like some arctic hunter-gatherers right this moment, historic people acquired 45 p.c of their energy from animal protein. People can’t eat a very carnivorous food regimen due to the liver’s means to generate solely a part of our power wants from protein. Edible vegetation may have been saved for the winter as a source of carbohydrates, however provides would have waned because the annual large freeze wore on, the scientists suspect. So Ice Age hunter-gatherers in all probability reached some extent the place they centered on looking in an effort to extract fatty marrow and grease from the bones of prey to fulfill power wants, the researchers argue, leaving loads of lean meat untouched and accessible as wolf meals.

Competitors between people and wolves for prey would have declined as generations of pet wolves regularly advanced into canines, the group hypothesizes. Solely then, the concept goes, have been extra docile canines skilled to assist individuals (SN: 3/21/15).

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