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Tag: excrement

Researchers unearth evidence of America’s earliest dog … and proof that it was eaten

A University of Maine graduate student says he has found a bone fragment from what he believes is the earliest domesticated dog ever found in the Americas — one that walked the continent 9,400 years ago.

And where he found it — ensconced in a dried-out sample of human waste — gives proof that eating dog was part of America’s culture, at least before America was America.

Graduate student Samuel Belknap III came across the fragment while analyzing a sample of human waste unearthed in  the 1970s. Carbon-dating placed the age of the bone at 9,400 years, and a DNA analysis confirmed it came from a dog — as opposed to a wolf, coyote or fox.

The Associated Press  reports that the fragment — which was the dark orange color characteristic of bone that has passed through the digestive track — was found in Hinds Cave in southwest Texas. 

The fragment provides the earliest evidence that dogs were eaten by humans in North America, and may have been bred as a food source, he said.

Belknap was studying the diet and nutrition of the people  in the Lower Pecos region of Texas between 1,000 and 10,000 years ago when he came across the bone.

Belknap and other researchers from the University of Maine and the University of Oklahoma’s molecular anthropology laboratories, where the DNA analysis was done, have written a paper on their findings, scheduled for publication in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology later this year.

The fragment is about six-tenths of an inch long and three- to four-tenths of an inch wide. Belknap said he and a fellow student identified the bone as a fragment from where the skull connects with the spine. He said it came from a dog that probably resembled the small short-haired dogs that were common among the Indians of the Great Plains.

Other archaeological findings have found evidence of domestic dogs in the U.S. as long as 8,000 years ago.

A 1980s study reported dog bones found at Danger Cave, Utah, were between 9,000 and 10,000 years old, but those dates were based on an analysis of the surrounding rock laters as opposed to carbon dating. In Idaho, researchers believed they’d found 11,000-year-old dog bones, but later tests showed them to be no more than 3,000 years old.

Worldwide, studies have found evidence of dogs going back 31,000 years from a site in Belgium, 26,000 years in the Czech Republic and 15,000 years in Siberia.

The earliest dogs in North America are believed to have come with the early settlers across the Bering land bridge from Asia.

Belknap said eating dogs was once common in Central America, and that some Great Plain Indian tribes ate dogs when food was scarce or for celebrations.

 ”It was definitely an accepted practice among many populations,” he said.

Gory details: Will this poop song go viral?

Gory Bateson and Dougie Mac chose what they call “the famous dog poop sculpture in Beverly Hills” to record this “public service announcement” — a musical reminder to pick up your dog’s poop.

The sculpture isn’t really of dog poop (though there is some resemblance), it’s just modern art.

Similarly, “Gory Bateson” isn’t really Gory Bateson – he’s a modern-day artistic creation, as well.

Gateson is the internet persona of Nick Trujillo, a California State University, Sacramento, communications professor  who, a la Spinal Tap, established an alter ego as the burned out former lead singer of the mythic band The Ethnogs.

It’s all aimed at exploring how viral media works — how popular sensations emerge within the new media landscape. Trujillo has posted more than 70 videos on YouTube under the guise of Gory in hopes of seeing the character go viral.

Gory said he was inspired after he happened by the silver sculpture ( “Erratic,” by artist Roxy Paine, on Santa Monica Boulevard, across from Beverly Hills City Hall). “It looked like dog poop to me. I had dogs for 25 years so I tend to see the world in dog terms.”

Gory points out that he was not paid by Beverly Hills to make the announcement, but undertook it on his own, with his fellow Ethnog, ”Dougie Mac” (who’s really Dr. Bob Krizek, a professor of communication at St. Louis University.)

The song may be a fake public service announcement, performed by a made-up characters, in front of a sculpture that’s open to interpretation, but its message, Gory says, is real:

Pick up that poop.

Trial for ex-owner of Almost Heaven begins

Testimony began yesterday in the trial for Derbe “Skip” Eckhart, accused of animal cruelty and dog law violations at the kennel he operated in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.

The first witness, a state dog warden, described conditions at the Almost Heaven Kennel — shut down by authorities last year — as “foul,” according to the Allentown Morning Call.

“I couldn’t breathe. I wish I could give you what I smell in my mind right now. I’ll never forget it. Ever,” Kristin Donmoyer testified, recounting what she saw during an October 2008 raid at the kennel in Upper Milford Township

She said drains inside the kennel were filled with feces and stagnant liquid that could attract pests and promote disease. “This was foul,” Donmoyer testified. “You couldn’t walk past it without gagging.” She said she saw accumulations of feces, soiled and saturated animal bedding, “gunk” covered fencing, rusty pipes, exposed fiberglass and ripped up flooring.

The state Department of Agriculture found the violations to be so egregious, she said, that it revoked Eckhart’s breeding and boarding licenses.

Defense attorney Jeffrey Conrad, in his opening statement Monday, had warned the jury that they would see some excrement in the trial:

”Are you gonna see turds? You betcha,” he said.

”That fella right there is Derbe ‘Skip’ Eckhart,” Conrad said during his opening. ”This fella right here loves dogs, loves critters … The problem with this guy is that Skip can’t say no to any mutt. That guy right there is just dumb enough to take your ugly dog.”

The defense attorney said Eckhart is the innocent victim of officials seeking media attention: ”Those folks at the Department of Agriculture and the SPCA love money and they love headlines,” he said. ”What we have here is a man that loves animals and a government that loves headlines.”

Mans’ best friend eats girls’ best friend

A dog hanging out in his owner’s jewelry store ate a diamond worth $20,000.

Worse yet, it wasn’t even one of the store’s diamonds, but one that a diamond dealer was showing off to the owners at Robert Bernard Jewelry Store, located in, of all places, Rockville, Md.

The diamond dealer dropped the gem when he pulled it out, and the store owner’s golden retriever, named Soli, scarfed it right up,WJLA reported.

The store owners called Soli’s vet, who advised letting nature take its course.

“It was not that pleasant,” said George Kaufmann, co-owner of Robert Bernard Jewelers. “I followed him; I had to pick up his stuff; I had to go through the things. I can understand what it was like in the old Gold Rush. I felt like I had just hit pay dirt.”

After three days, the diamond exited Soli and was returned to the dealer.