Robert Bruce Horsfall - William Berryman Scott, A history of land mammals in the western hemisphere, New York, MacMillan Publishing Company, 1913. Frontispiece.
Smilodon californicus and Canis dirus fight over a Mammuthus columbi carcass in the La Brea Tar Pits.)
Continuing Search for the Original Best Friend. @david_grimm. @science.
"...It's all a bit of a jumble, which seems appropriate for a field that's a bit of a mess itself. Dogs were the very first thing humans domesticated—before any plant, before any other animal. Yet despite decades of study, researchers are still fighting over where and when wolves became humans' loyal companions. “It's very competitive and contentious,” says Jean-Denis Vigne, a zooarchaeologist at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, who notes that dogs could shed light on human prehistory and the very nature of domestication. “It's an animal so deeply and strongly connected to our history that everyone wants to know.”
And soon everyone just might. In an unprecedented truce brokered by two scientists from outside the dog wars, the various factions have started working together. With the help of Hulme-Beaman and others, they're sharing samples, analyzing thousands of bones, and trying to set aside years of bad blood and bruised egos. If the effort succeeds, the former competitors will uncover the history of man's oldest friend—and solve one of the greatest mysteries of domestication....."
"...Larson feels confident that the work will solve the mystery of dog domestication once and for all, though some experts aren't so sure. Just throwing a lot of data at an enigma won't necessarily unravel it, warns Richard Meadow, the director of the zooarchaeology laboratory at Harvard University's Peabody Museum. “The more samples you get, the more complicated things get.” And Hulme-Beaman points out that even if there is an answer, it's likely to disgruntle some of the collaborators...."