Washington: The friendship between humans and dogs might date as far back as 14,000 years, as scientists have discovered a jaw fragment in a Swiss cave, which is believed to have come from the earliest known canine, according to scientists who analyzed and radiocarbon-dated the fossil.
However, dog origins remain poorly understood, and some researchers say that dog fossils much older than the Swiss find have already been excavated.
An upper-right jaw unearthed in 1873 in Kesslerloch Cave, located near Switzerland`s northern border with Germany, shows that domestic dogs lived there between 14,100 and 14,600 years ago, say archaeology graduate student Hannes Napierala and archaeozoologist Hans-Peter Uerpmann, study co-authors at the University of Tubingen in Germany.
"The Kesslerloch find clearly supports the idea that the dog was an established domestic animal at that time in central Europe," Discovery News quoted Napierala as saying.
Researchers have also found roughly 14,000-year-old dog fossils among the remains of prehistoric people buried at Germany`s Bonn-Oberkassel site.
Older fossil skulls recently identified by other teams as dogs were probably Ice Age wolves, argued the researchers.
The study is published in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology.