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It has been described before that the occurence of raindeers is strangely low, while this was the main food source. But isn't it even stranger for dogs? Recent genetic research suggest that dogs were domesticated a lot earlier than any other animal, which makes sense for hunters. The distinction dog/wolf may be blurred over long times - and while e.g. chauvet cave pictures a wide variety of wild predators, even owl and hyena, no wolf is pictured either.

Where dogs/wolfes too 'ordinary' to be portaied here, more so than raindeer?

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2 Answers 2

There are lots of dogs in paleolithic cave paintings. For example:

dogs in cave painting

Dogs can be used for hunting in the woods, like deer, but for hunting large herds in open areas like bison, they are not useful and are more of a nuisance than an aid. (Notice that in the above image the quarry is a deer, not an accident.) A recent journal article on the subject:

New evidence for Upper Palaeolithic small domestic dogs in South-Western Europe

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I haven't found any - and your picture looks very much mesolithic or neolithic saharan rock art. Do you have any evidence of PALEOlithic pictures of dogs? –  HannesH Jun 9 at 9:31
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I have added a reference to a recent paper on the subject. –  Tyler Durden Jun 9 at 10:08
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Thank you. Since i dit not purchase the fulltext, i do not see any reference to cave paintings here. Are there any? –  HannesH Jun 9 at 18:28
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I don't think a reference to a protected paper is helpful. Not everybody wants to purchase the paper. IMO the idea of stackexchange is to have as much as possible the information on this site. –  stevenvh Jun 11 at 14:42
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Could you tell us in which cave the picture was taken? –  stevenvh Jun 11 at 14:43

From a technical taxonomical point of view, it is impossible to have domestic dogs depicted in a Paleolithic cave painting, simply because domestication of plants and animals is one of the features of the Neolithic.

So by definition, any art that depicts a canid is either Neolithic, or it is showing a wild relative such as a wolf.

Now this is a bit overly pedantic, as domestication of dogs appears to have begun in the northern parts of Asia well before the dates we associate with the full-blown Neolithic. However, the dates are close enough that it can still be a useful rule-of-thumb (considering the Paleolithic lasted upwards of 2.6 million years, and we are quibbling here over the last 5-20 thousand years of it)

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Early cave paintings and early dogs seem both to occur in the Aurignacian (1). However, in order to simplyfy, my question would be why there aren't any canides pictured earlier thanMesolithicum. (1)sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305440308002380 –  HannesH Nov 3 at 21:24

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