Ancient Cave Art Depicts Oldest Evidence of Dogs Wearing Leashes
A new analysis of ancient rock art demonstrates that humans hunted with
There are lots of questions around the origin of dog domestication, such as when, where, and how it happened. But a newly analyzed set of panels depicts scenes of leashed dogs hunting alongside humans. Not only would this be the "earliest evidence of dogs on the Arabian Peninsula," according to the study published recently in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology , but it's also the "earliest evidence of leashes."
"The panels . . . indicate that dogs were a critical part of Pre-Neolithic hunting strategies in Arabia," according to the paper.
Archaeologists found the panels in two sites in northwestern
Dating rock art requires inferences based on the location of the rocks and the placement of the carvings on the rock which makes accuracy difficult, according to the study. One archaeologist, Paul Tacon from Griffith University in Australia,
that the time estimate for this study, between 7,000 and 10,000 years ago, is sound. However, he cautioned that the lines might be symbols rather than physical representations of leashes.
The study's importance lies in how it might shed light on human behavior in the Arabian Peninsula in the pre-Neolithic era, in which dogs would have played an important role. It additionally "highlights the potential of rock art in providing evidence for the control and use of early domestic dogs."
The scientists now need to do further digging and see if they can actually find dog remains dating back to the era.