This Week In History News, Jan. 13 – 19

Published January 18, 2019
Updated July 24, 2019

Ancient mammoth rib shows signs of human hunting, DNA of extinct wolf found in modern dogs, remains reveal prehistoric humans and dogs once hunted together.

Archaeologists Find 25,000-Year-Old Mammoth Rib Pierced With An Arrow From Early Human Hunters

Rib With Flint Fragment

P. WotjalA close-up of the mammoth rib embedded with a Paleolithic flint fragment.

A flint fragment from an early human weapon was discovered in a 25,000-year-old mammoth rib in southern Poland last week, further proving that humans hunted and were perhaps partly responsible for the extinction of the woolly mammoth.

Among the remains of at least 110 mammoths (gargantuan creatures that reached three meters tall and weighed some six tons), archaeologists uncovered a rib embedded with a flint arrowhead. In fact, several hundred fragments of flint blades, nearly all broken at the tip, were discovered amongst the mammoth skeletons.

Dig deeper here.

DNA Of An Extinct Wolf Found In A Pack Of Wild Dogs In Texas

Galveston Feral Dogs

Ron WootenOften mistaken for coyote, these wild dogs possess the genes of a species of wolf thought to be extinct in the wild.

Red wolves were declared extinct in the wild in the 1980s, but a new discovery shows that their DNA persists in a roving pack of feral dogs on Galveston Island, Texas.

Red wolves were once native to a large stretch of the southeastern United States including Texas, Florida, and West Virginia. The red wolf is somewhere between a gray wolf and common coyote in size but features a trademark reddish tint on the ears, head, and legs.

They were placed on the endangered species list in 1967 when hunting, habitat loss, and cross-breeding quickly dwindled their numbers. Upon their extinction on the Gulf coast, people began to breed the red wolves in captivity, but only 40 were successfully bred as pure red wolf.

Of those, 14 went on to reproduce the current lineage of red wolf variety that exists in both captivity and in the wild. Once reintroduced to North Carolina in the late 80s, it seemed the red wolf would make a full recovery, but further impacts from humans brought their numbers back down to a 40 or below in the wild.

Now, their genes once thought to have been erased from canine genetic history, have been found in a pack of small-town Texas feral dogs when a local field biologist, Ron Wooten, made an astute observation.

See more in this report.

Prehistoric Humans And Dogs Once Hunted Side By Side, New Evidence Reveals

Gazelle Bones

University of CopenhagenGazelle bones showing signs of having been digested by a carnivore.

Archaeologists working at an 11,500-year-old settlement in Jordan once inhabited by prehistoric humans have made a fascinating discovery concerning the ancient history of people and dogs.

Bones of several animals (including gazelle) found at the site show evidence of having been digested by carnivores, presumed to be dogs, bones of which were also found at the site. And further digging leads researchers to believe that this suggests evidence of remarkable cooperation between humans and dogs even at this early point in history.

Find out more about the how and the why at Smithsonian.

All That's Interesting
A New York-based publisher established in 2010, All That's Interesting brings together subject-level experts in history, true crime, and science to share stories that illuminate our world.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.