An international team of researchers discovered the remains of ancient wild dogs on the territory of modern Georgia, in the immediate vicinity of the site of human ancestors from Dmanisi. According to scientists, this may indicate the interaction of the ancestors of dogs with representatives of the genus Homo long before the appearance of sapiens.
The work was published in Scientific Reports. It is known that dogs began to accompany humans for a very long time. There is evidence that this happened over 35 thousand years ago. The genetic divergence of a dog and a wolf took place from 20 to 40 thousand years ago, so the first "dogs" hardly differed much from wolves, although sometimes the ancestral forms are called dogs.
People from Dmanisi (an archaeological site on the territory of Georgia) are known as representatives of the first hominids and human ancestors outside Africa and date back about 1.8 million years ago. Studies have shown that Dmanissians belong to a closely related lineage of Neanderthals, Denisovans and modern humans. They were probably the ancestors of all three species of Homo.
Scientists from the Universities of Florence (Italy), Barcelona (Spain) and Tbilisi State (Georgia) have discovered that the extinct subspecies of Canis (including wolves, dogs, coyotes and golden jackals) is xenocyon, "strange dog" or Eurasian hunting dog, an ancestral form of the modern red wolf and African wild dog - lived and hunted in close proximity to people from Dmanisi. This is indicated by the remains of animals found near the site.
Of course, scientists do not say that the people of Dmanisi were engaged in the domestication of dogs. However, the proximity of the fossils, according to the authors of the work, may indicate that wild dogs and human ancestors coexisted quite peacefully, stole food from each other and developed symbiotic relationships.