07 June 2014

Possible canine head figure from the Arkfeld site

Adam Arkfeld identified an animal head figure here, perhaps a canine

Side 2 of animal head figure

Credit: Anthropos Museum, Brno, the Czech Republic, courtesy of Mietje Germonpre

A fragment of a large bone, probably from a mammoth, Pat Shipman reports, was placed in this dog's mouth shortly after death. This finding suggests the animal was according special mortuary treatment, perhaps acknowledging its role in mammoth hunting. The fossil comes from the site of Predmosti, in the Czech republic, and is about 27,000 years B.P. old. This object is one of three canid skulls from Predmosti that were identified as dogs based on analysis of their morphology.

"Among many northern indigenous peoples, it was believed that the head contains the spirit or soul," Germonpré explained"Some of these peoples made a hole in the braincase of the killed animal so that the spirit might be released." The mammoth bone in the dog's mouth could signify "that the dog was 'fed' to accompany the soul of the dead (animal) on its journey."

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