This Is How Dogs Appeared 4,500 Years Ago in Scotland

All those lapdogs who imagine themselves to be something more wolfish than their outward appearances must be pleased to hear this news.

This beast is not a 21st-century pet; rather, it is forensic science’s best reconstruction of the real appearance of the owner of a Neolithic skull found during a 1901 excavation of the 5,000-year-old Cuween Hill chambered cairnon in Orkney, Scotland.

The “Cuween dog,” which is around the size of a large collie, has the look of a family pet and the visage of a European grey wolf. (Acclaim to the project’s leaders for holding off on giving their product a moniker, or if they have, for keeping it a secret.)This nice kid or girl, if it had a name or not, would have earned its keep by watching after a farm close to the tomb.

According to Steve Farrar, Interpretation Manager at Historic Environment Scotland, the conservation organization that commissioned the reconstruction, the farmers’ regard for their dogs went beyond simple practical admiration. It’s possible that they saw their dogs as symbols or totems, or that they identified as “dog people.”

The skull of this dog and 23 other dogs discovered at the site have radiocarbon dates that indicate ceremonial burial; the animals were buried more than 500 years after the tomb’s passageway was constructed.

According to Historic Environment Scotland, the fact that the dog remains are arranged close to human remains indicates that the community believes both dogs and humans an afterlife.

Compared to the bare skull, which was scanned by the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at Edinburgh University and used as a basis for a 3D print that forensic artist Amy Thornton added muscle, skin, and hair to, the model is supposedly more relatable.

Even without the appealing image, what a human genealogist wouldn’t give to follow their ancestry all the way back to 2000 BC.

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