November 15, 2017

The World's First Dog Artwork

We all know that dogs and people go way back - they've been best friends for a long time. Recently, archaeologists think they might have found the very first images of dogs. 

Off a river in the Arabian desert, there stands a sandstone cliff - a cliff with a brilliant scene carved into it. The engravings feature a hunter with a bow surrounded by not one - but thirteen dogs (a dream-come-true, right?). 

This artwork says something unique about dogs and people - this image is now the earliest to show people using dogs to help them hunt.

So just when was the artwork carved into the cliffside? The estimate is that they were engraved over 8000 years ago. Even our ancestors knew how helpful pups could be.

Something else our ancestors knew is how to train these pups. You can see a line going from the hunter to the dog next to him - implying that he's using a leash. This suggests that, even 8000 years ago, our ancestors were training dogs - and knew how important leashes were.

This artwork originates from Shuwaymis, a region in Northwestern Saudi Arabia. The researchers estimated its age based off of both the sequence of the carving itself and the aging of the rock. The dogs in the painting also resemble the dogs that today we call Canaan dogs. These pups are a feral dog breed that live in the Middle East deserts - which would explain a lot if they were the dogs in the carvings.

We might not carve pictures of us with our dogs in hillsides anymore, but hopefully those photo albums will stick around. 

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