Close companions: Early evidence for dogs in northeast Jordan and the potential impact of new hunting methods
Current evidence suggests domestications of the dog were incipient developments in many areas of the world. In southwest Asia this process took place in the Late Epipalaeolithic Natufian (∼14,500–11,600 cal BP) with the earliest evidence originating from the Mediterranean zone of the southern Levant. This paper presents new data for the importance of early domestic dogs to human groups in the region beyond this ‘core’ area where the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene environment is usually thought of as less favourable for human occupation. By the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A it is demonstrated that dogs were living alongside humans in significant numbers. Most discussions of early domestic dogs assume that these animals would have facilitated the hunting of larger prey following the innate behavioural traits of their wolf ancestors. This paper suggests that the benefits of hunting with dogs could also extend to the capture of smaller prey. An increase in the hunting of such animals, as part of the broad-spectrum revolution, was not necessarily a response limited to resource reduction in the Late Pleistocene and factors such as new hunting methods need consideration.