Extreme Tooth Wear: Understanding Dog Diets in the American Southwest

Author(s): Joshua Nowakowski; Chrissina Burke

Year: 2016


Dogs have been described as a refuse management system in prehistoric villages across the world; in fact, much of their domestication has been attributed to their ability to adapt to consume human garbage/waste. Recent research on prehistoric dog burials housed in the Museum of Northern Arizona’s curated faunal collections illustrates unusual tooth wear patterns on both the upper and lower carnassials in a large number of the canids. The wear does not appear to represent excessive gnawing on bones, as can be observed in larger predatory animals, nor does it conform to the typical wear associated with age. Instead the tooth wear present on these animals suggests a diet potentially containing corn – presumably from the waste of their human companions. While these canid remains come from sites in different cultural periods and regions, many of their dentition demonstrates similar wear patterns. This poster presents preliminary data and results concerning the tooth wear of these dogs.

Cite this Record

Extreme Tooth Wear: Understanding Dog Diets in the American Southwest. Joshua Nowakowski, Chrissina Burke. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405139)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;