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The Godrevy dog; Early canine or lost pet ?
Geoscience in South-West England
During sampling of the late Devensian St. Loy Member of the Penwith Formation at Godrevy, Cornwall, several ribs and vertebrae were discovered within the cliff face. The visible bones appeared in context with the surrounding geology with no evidence for later site disturbance or burial. During the excavation the skeleton was entirely enclosed within the coarse grained head deposits. The skeleton was articulated and nearly complete and is identified as Canis familiaris, the"domestic" dog. The recovery of this skeleton from the St. Loy Member of the Penwith Formation, generally regarded to be of mid to late Devensian age, is scientifically problematic. The accepted age for the late Devensian is 12-15,000 years BP. The oldest known domestic dogs are dated at about 10,000 years BP, although the burial of a dog or wolf puppy with a human skeleton from Israel 12,000 yrs BP is taken as early evidence of domestication. There are three possible interpretations: (1) the St. Loy Member of the Penwith Formation is younger than previously thought; (2) that Godrevy dog is a very early domestic dog; (3) that it is possible to incorporate a rcent articulated dog skeleton into Quaternary head deposits without any signs of physical disturbance at the site. Dating of the right radius bone by accelerator mass spectrometry has given a likely age for the skeleton of between 1620 AD and 1680 AD. Thus a 17th century domestic dog has been enclosed within Devensian coarse grained head deposits with no signs of disturbance to the site.
Vol. 10 (2), pp. 172 - 176
Place of publication