Scientists believe they may have found the 14,000-year-old remains of the world's oldest pet dog.
The bones were originally unearthed in a dig in cave dwellings nearly 150 years ago in Switzerland and were first thought to be part of the jaw of a wolf. Now new tests by experts at Germany's Tubingen University have revealed "undisputed" evidence that the remains are the earliest record of man's best friend.
"During a recent re-analysis of the remains, we identified a cranial fragment and teeth of the domestic dog," the researchers said in an article in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology.
"We argue that the maxilla fragment must now be considered the earliest indisputable directly dated evidence of a domestic dog," they added.
Previous cave dog discoveries in Belgium have been dismissed as inconclusive.
"We are sceptical because the teeth are very similar to those of a wolf," said lead researcher Hannes Napierala.
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