Ancient Finding Suggests Dogs Accompanied ‘First Humans That Entered New World’ During ‘The Last Ice Age’

This is not the dog in the story. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Katie Jerkovich Entertainment Reporter
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An ancient finding suggests that dogs accompanied the “first humans” that entered “the new world” during “the last ice age.”

Researchers discovered a bone fragment in southeast Alaska that they now believe came from a dog that likely lived in the area around 10,150 years ago, according to a press release from the University of Buffalo shared by People magazine in a piece published Tuesday. (RELATED: Giant Parrots Used To Roam Ancient New Zealand, According To Newly-Discovered Fossils)

It happened while a team was on an exploration in the area in hopes of learning how climate change during the Ice Age “impacted animals’ survival and movements,” Charlotte Lindqvist, an evolutionary biologist from the University of Buffalo, shared. (RELATED: Here’s A Christmas Message From Champ And Major, Joe Biden’s Dogs)

According to the release, the finding represents “the oldest confirmed remains of a domestic dog in the Americas.”

“We now have genetic evidence from an ancient dog found along the Alaskan coast,” Lindqvist explained. “Because dogs are a proxy for human occupation, our data helps provide not only timing but also a location for the entry of dogs and people into the Americas.”

“Our study supports the theory that this migration occurred just as coastal glaciers retreated during the last Ice Age,” she added.

Researchers analyzed the bone’s mitochondrial genome and have determined the canine “belonged to a lineage of dogs whose evolutionary history diverged from that of Siberian dogs as early as 16,700 years ago.”

“This all started out with our interest in how Ice Age climatic changes impacted animals’ survival and movements in this region,” the evolutionary biologist noted. “Southeast Alaska might have served as an ice-free stopping point of sorts, and now — with our dog — we think that early human migration through the region might be much more important than some previously suspected.”

The “timing” also has lead researchers to suggest “that dogs accompanied the first humans that entered the New World.”