Du loup au chien, un point sur la question de la domestication au cours du Paléolithique

Abstract : Research conducted over the past forty years has radically overturned our knowledge and interrogations concerning domestication processes. Many questions still persist regarding the chronology, the geography and the origin of the domestication of the wolf, the first animal to be domesticated. In the archaeological context, proof of the presence of domesticated animals is relatively sparse. Morphometric data generally represent the main criterion alongside the often rich indications found in archaeological contexts. In fact, studies of domestication show that this process results in significant changes after several generations, notably a reduction of the stature of the domesticated adult skeleton, changes in the morphology of the face and skull, and the retention of certain juvenile characteristics.In an archaeological context, we generally use four types of biometric references to identify remains related to the wolf or the dog, made up of data collected from present-day and fossil wolves and dogs. Data from modern wolves are relatively abundant but in several studies, the references used include captive individuals presenting less variability and less sexual dimorphism than in a wild population (Davis 1981, Benecke 1987, Vigne 2005). A study of a reference collection of 571 wild wolves brought to light important variability in the species on the European continent (Boudadi-Maligne 2010, 2011, Boudadi-Maligne and Escarguel 2014). This variability can be linked to several environmental factors, such as the climate or the size and availability of prey, but also to biological factors, and in particular sexual dimorphism (Boudadi-Maligne 2010). As a result, this variability in wild wolves is a capital element for the specific attribution of fossil canids. For fossil wolf references, bone fragmentation is a non-negligible obstacle for analyses. In addition, the data collected from Pleistocene wolves from the south of France show that variability in these fossil populations is also important (Boudadi-Maligne 2010). Biometric analyses have brought to light an evolution in the size and shape of specimens over time, resulting in the description of three chrono-sub-species (Boudadi-Maligne 2012), including two: Canis lupus santenaisiensis and Canis lupus maximus that could have co-existed on relatively distant territories, or even have cross-bred at the beginning of the Upper Palaeolithic. For certain authors, the first experiences of the domestication of the wolf occured during this period.
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Myriam Boudadi-Maligne, Gilles Escarguel, Anne Tresset, J.-D. Vigne. Du loup au chien, un point sur la question de la domestication au cours du Paléolithique. Table-ronde organisée en hommage à Guy Célérier "Les sociétés de la transition du Paléolithique final au début du Mésolithique dans l'espace nord aquitain", Jun 2015, Les Eyzies-de-Tayac, France. pp.271-279. ⟨hal-02265223⟩



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