Journal article Open Access

Man's best friend - Mammoth's worst enemy? A speculative essay on the role of dogs in Paleoindian colonization and megafaunal extinction

Fiedel, Stuart J.

Recent genetic studies indicate that the wolf ancestors of New World dogs were domesticated in East Asia, about 15,000 cal. bp. Although archaeological evidence of the earliest American dogs is very scarce, they probably accompanied the Paleoindians who crossed Beringia and occupied North America after 13,500 cal. bp. By providing humans with hunting assistance and transport capability, as well as an emergency food source, dogs may have facilitated the very rapid expansion of Paleoindians. As hunters or as disease carriers, dogs may also have played a role in megafaunal extinction.
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