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And in many, they are tethered to a human armed with a bow and arrow.
“It could just be a depiction of a bond.” Either way, he says, that bond was clearly strong, as the artists appear to have depicted dogs they actually knew, with particular coat patterns, stances, and genders.
The engravings likely date back more than 8000 years, making them the earliest depictions of dogs, a new study reveals.
And those lines are probably leashes, suggesting that humans mastered the art of training and controlling dogs thousands of years earlier than previously thought.
The Arabian hunters may have used the leashes to keep valuable scent dogs close and protected, she says, or to train new dogs.
Leashing dogs to the hunter’s waist may have freed his hands for bow and arrow.
“These creatures were very important, beloved companions.” Such a relationship would have been critical to helping people survive a harsh environment.
Dogs could take down gazelles and ibexes too fast for humans, Perri says.
In between—carved on top of the women and under the livestock—are the early hunting dogs: 156 at Shuwaymis and 193 at Jubbah.
All are medium-sized, with pricked up ears, short snouts, and curled tails—hallmarks of domestic canines.
Or people may even have independently domesticated these dogs from the Arabian wolf long after dogs were domesticated elsewhere, which likely happened sometime between 15,000 and 30,000 years ago.
But Zeder notes that the engravings may not be as old as they seem.
In some scenes, the dogs face off against wild donkeys.