Palaeolithic dogs at the Gravettian Předmostí site, Czech Republic
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during the Pleistocene and Early Holocene, oral
Předmostí is a very famous Gravettian site. Excavated since the 1880s, it is notorious for its large human assemblage, unfortunately destroyed, and for its huge amount of mammoth remains, from more than 1000 individuals. But it is also an exceptional canid site delivering some 4000 bones of this taxon (Pokornỷ, 1951). Already in 1894, Maška mentioned in his diary the finding of a complete canid skeleton, possibly from a dog. Benecke (1994) recognised at Předmostí the first indications of wolf domestication, based on the lower jaws. We studied the large canid skulls from this site. In total six complete skulls and 13 large fragments could be analysed. Two skulls could be assigned to the group of Palaeolithic dogs, one to the group of Pleistocene wolves, one to the group of captive wolves and two skulls fall in between groups. Half of the Předmostí canid skulls have perforated braincases. In the ethnographic literature perforated skulls are often regarded as indicative of a ritual behaviour. Also several modified canid canines were discovered. Likely, the large canids at Předmostí had an important ritual significance. Furthermore, it is possible that the Předmostí dogs helped with the hunting of the mammoth.
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Alternate view of this item: Palaeolithic dogs at the Gravettian Předmostí site, Czech Republic