Prehistoric wild dog found at iconic human fossil site
New research reveals two highly social mammals crossed paths at Dmanisi 1.8 million years ago: our ancestral human cousins, and a pack-hunting canid.
The medieval Georgian village of Dmanisi is a mecca for paleoanthropology. It holds the oldest known records of human ancestors outside of Africa, shedding light on how the hominin Homo erectus lived at the crossroads of Europe and Asia roughly 1.8 million years ago.
Based on newly unearthed remains, it now seems that Dmanisi’s hominins crossed paths in the Caucasus with a four-legged traveler from the east: an enormous—and particularly social—wild dog with teeth built to slice up meat.
The remains belong to Canis (Xenocyon) lycaonoides, or the Eurasian hunting dog, which probably first evolved in East Asia around 1.8 million years ago and died out about 800,000 years ago. Based on the bone fragments found in Dmanisi—some teeth and