Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021 OA / Mothering the Orphaned Pup: The Beginning of a Domestication Process in the Upper Palaeolithic

Mietje Germonpré, M. Van den Broeck, M. Lázničková-Galetová, M.V. Sablin and H. Bocherens (2021)

Mothering the Orphaned Pup: The Beginning of a Domestication Process in the Upper Palaeolithic

Human Ecology.

Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the initial steps in the domestication process of the wolf. We discuss the human-initiated model in which wolf pups were brought to camp sites by male hunters and cared for by nursing women. A good relation between the more sociable and playful pups and the women and their children likely formed affiliative bonds and led to the survival of such pups into maturity. Some of these animals could have reproduced and delivered at least one litter. A selection on the behaviour of subsequent generations could ultimately have led to Palaeolithic dogs.