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Evidence Suggests Ancient Wolf-Dog Crossbreeding

December 16, 2010

Jaw bones discovered in pre-Hispanic ruins are the first evidence that wolves and dogs were intentionally cross-bred by ancient Mexicans, the Associated Press (AP) reported on Thursday.

The remains, which were discovered by archaeologists at a Teotihuacan pyramid burial chamber, are the first physical proof that wolf-dogs were intentionally crossbred “as a symbol of the city’s warriors,” the AP reported. The bones were found by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in 2004 and analyzed that the National Autonomous University (UNAM).

“In oral traditions and old chronicles, dog-like animals appear with symbols of power or divinity,” INAH spokesman Francisco De Anda told the AP. “But we did not have skeletal evidence … this is the first time we have proof.”

“Several jaw bones were made into a sort of decorative garment found on the warrior’s skeleton at the 2,000-year-old site north of Mexico City,” the news agency reported. “The wolf-dog apparently served as a symbol of strength and power.”

Eight of the bones discovered by the researchers were from wolf-dogs, three were from dogs, and two were said to be a mix of wolf-dog and coyote.

According to the INAH’s official website, the organization “investigates, conserves and divulgates the national archaeological, anthropological, historical and paleontological heritage, to strengthen the identity and memory of the society that holds it.”

“INAH is an institution with plenty regulating and ruling faculties in regards to protection and conservation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, at the forefront thanks to the level of excellence of research in anthropology, archaeology, history, restoration, museology and paleontology, as well as in professional training within the sphere of its competence,” the groups homepage also says. “Its activities have great social impact since the Institute cooperates with the different levels of government and society in the”¦ the design and execution of strategies for conservation and knowledge of the national heritage and memory.”

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