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A new look at an old dog: Bonn-Oberkassel reconsidered

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Abstract
The Bonn-Oberkassel dog remains (Upper Pleistocene and 14223 þ- 58 years old) have been reported more than 100 years ago. Recent re-examination revealed the tooth of another older and smaller dog, making this domestic dog burial not only the oldest known, but also the only one with remains of two dogs. This observation brings the total known Magdalenian dogs to nine. Domestication of dogs during the final Palaeolithic has important implications for understanding pre- Holocene hunter-gatherers. Most proposed hunter-gatherer motivations for domesticating dogs have been utilitarian. However, remains of the Bonn-Oberkassel dogs may offer another view. The Bonn-Oberkassel dog was a late juvenile when it was buried at approximately age 27e28 weeks, with two adult humans and grave goods. Oral cavity lesions indicate a gravely ill dog that likely suffered a morbillivirus (canine distemper) infection. A dental line of suggestive enamel hypoplasia appears at the 19-week developmental stage. Two additional enamel hypoplasia lines, on the canine only, document further disease episodes at weeks 21 and 23. Pathological changes also include severe periodontal disease that may have been facilitated by immunodeficiency. Since canine distemper has a three-week disease course with very high mortality, the dog must have been perniciously ill during the three disease bouts and between ages 19 and 23 weeks. Survival without intensive human assistance would have been unlikely. Before and during this period, the dog cannot have held any utilitarian use to humans. We suggest that at least some Late Pleistocene humans regarded dogs not just materialistically, but may have developed emotional and caring bonds for their dogs, as reflected by the survival of this dog, quite possibly through human care.

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Chicago
Janssens, Luc, Liane Giemsch, Ralf Schmitz, Martin Street, Stefan Van Dongen, and Philippe Crombé. 2018. “A New Look at an Old Dog: Bonn-Oberkassel Reconsidered.” Journal of Archaeological Science.
APA
Janssens, Luc, Giemsch, L., Schmitz, R., Street, M., Van Dongen, S., & Crombé, P. (2018). A new look at an old dog: Bonn-Oberkassel reconsidered. JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE.
Vancouver
1.
Janssens L, Giemsch L, Schmitz R, Street M, Van Dongen S, Crombé P. A new look at an old dog: Bonn-Oberkassel reconsidered. JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE. Elsevier BV; 2018;
MLA
Janssens, Luc, Liane Giemsch, Ralf Schmitz, et al. “A New Look at an Old Dog: Bonn-Oberkassel Reconsidered.” JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE (2018): n. pag. Print.
@article{8550758,
  abstract     = {The Bonn-Oberkassel dog remains (Upper Pleistocene and 14223 {\th}- 58 years old) have been reported
more than 100 years ago. Recent re-examination revealed the tooth of another older and smaller dog,
making this domestic dog burial not only the oldest known, but also the only one with remains of two
dogs. This observation brings the total known Magdalenian dogs to nine.
Domestication of dogs during the final Palaeolithic has important implications for understanding pre-
Holocene hunter-gatherers. Most proposed hunter-gatherer motivations for domesticating dogs have
been utilitarian. However, remains of the Bonn-Oberkassel dogs may offer another view.
The Bonn-Oberkassel dog was a late juvenile when it was buried at approximately age 27e28 weeks,
with two adult humans and grave goods. Oral cavity lesions indicate a gravely ill dog that likely suffered a
morbillivirus (canine distemper) infection. A dental line of suggestive enamel hypoplasia appears at the
19-week developmental stage. Two additional enamel hypoplasia lines, on the canine only, document
further disease episodes at weeks 21 and 23. Pathological changes also include severe periodontal disease
that may have been facilitated by immunodeficiency.
Since canine distemper has a three-week disease course with very high mortality, the dog must have
been perniciously ill during the three disease bouts and between ages 19 and 23 weeks. Survival without
intensive human assistance would have been unlikely. Before and during this period, the dog cannot have
held any utilitarian use to humans.
We suggest that at least some Late Pleistocene humans regarded dogs not just materialistically, but
may have developed emotional and caring bonds for their dogs, as reflected by the survival of this dog,
quite possibly through human care.
},
  author       = {Janssens, Luc and Giemsch, Liane and Schmitz, Ralf and Street, Martin and Van Dongen, Stefan and Cromb{\'e}, Philippe},
  issn         = {0305-4403},
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {Elsevier BV},
  title        = {A new look at an old dog: Bonn-Oberkassel reconsidered},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2018.01.004},
  year         = {2018},
}

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