World's first dog lived 31,700 years ago, ate big
Discovery could push back the date for the earliest dog by 17,700 yearsAncient, 26,000-year-old footprints made by a child and a dog at Chauvet Cave, France, support the pet notion. Torch wipes accompanying the prints indicate the child held a torch while navigating the dark corridors accompanied by a dog.
And a related blog entry that asks whether Neanderthal extinction may have been related to a lack of dog-empathy.
Why Are the Neanderthals Extinct?
23-November-2008 · 17 Comments"This brings us to where we started this article — dogs! Our idea is that while humans formed an early and mutually beneficial relationship with dogs, the Neanderthals never did; and that is what made all the difference." -The Sensuous Curmudgeon
As a dog lover, of course I'm biased toward agreeing with this hypothesis. I won't say I do so without evidence, but it is certainly a charming notion (apart from the more squeamish thoughts of mutual survivability in times of starvation). I'm going to have to watch this Curmudgeon for a while. Maybe add him to my 'reader' list.