2015 Volume 123 Issue 2 Pages 73-85
In 1962, two sets of dog remains were excavated at the Kamikuroiwa Rock Shelter site in Ehime Prefecture. 14C age dates of the dog remains correspond to a time period from the end of the Initial Jomon period to the beginning of the Early Jomon period: this indicates that they are the oldest buried dog remains discovered to date in the Japanese archipelago. Both sets of remains represented adult dogs and showed complete permanent dentition. The interred bodies were small, including the bones of their extremities, but they still resembled Jomon dogs of later periods. The muscles had developed, especially those required for mastication, and for the bending and stretching of the extremities. The teeth showed damage due to attrition that most likely occurred prior to death. It has been surmised that the dogs were subjected to extreme levels of stress on their teeth and were buried after tooth loss. Such damage may be related to hunting for large game mammals such as wild boar, similar to Jomon dogs of later periods. Therefore, it is highly possible that these two individuals shared similar characteristics as hunting dogs with Middle, Late, and Final Jomon dogs.