Alasdair Wilkins writing at io9.com:
A burial site recently uncovered in Jordan is the oldest ever discovered in the Middle East, at least 1,500 years older than any other cemetery previously discovered. But it’s not just its great age that makes it special — the cemetery also reveals what animals humans kept as pets long before the domestication of dogs.
The site, which dates back about 16,500 years, was discovered in ‘Uyun al-Hammam in Jordan. The University of Toronto researchers discovered the site back in 2000, but it’s taken eleven years just to come to grips with what the site has to teach us. Indeed, this cemetery stands to be particularly useful, as it has eleven different sets of human remains — more than all other burial sites of this type combined.
But it isn’t just the human corpses that have attracted attention, as they’ve also discovered remains of ancient pets. Previous burial sites dating back 15,000 to 12,000 years ago have revealed strong evidence that humans of that time period kept dogs as pets, with humans clearly being buried in intentional proximity to their dogs.
This new burial site has no dogs, but it does have multiple red fox skeletons…
[continues at at io9.com]