ArchaeoCafé Podcast – Episode 29 – Palaeocaninology: An interview with Mietje Germonpré

hosted by Otis Crandell

In this episode, I talk with Mietje Germonpré about the origins of domesticated dogs.

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Some useful terminology and links

Goyet Caves
a series of connected caves near the village of Mozet in the Namur province of Belgium. During the 1860s, a dog-like cranium was discovered and dated to 31,680 years old.

Předmostí archaeological site
An important Central European, Late Pleistocene hill site in the north western part of Přerov, Moravia near the city of Přerov in the modern day Czech Republic, dated to between 24,000 and 37,000 years old.

dog-like carnivorans of the biological family Canidae. All living members of this family are part of the subfamily Caninae, and are called canines. Members of this subfamily include domestic dogs, wolves, foxes, and jackals among others.

Origins of the dog
The origin of the domestic dog includes the dog’s genetic divergence from the wolf, its domestication, and its development into dog types and dog breeds.


Selected publications

Origins and genetic legacy of prehistoric dogs
by Anders Bergström, and others
Science, 2020, Vol. 370(6516), p. 557-564

Self-domestication or human control? The Upper Palaeolithic domestication of the wolf
by Mietje Germonpré, and others
In the 2018 book: Hybrid Communities Biosocial Approaches to Domestication and Other Trans-species Relationships.

Palaeolithic and prehistoric dogs and Pleistocene wolves from Yakutia: Identification of isolated skulls
by Mietje Germonpré, and others
Journal of Archaeological Science, 2017, Vol. 78, p. 1-19

Palaeolithic dog skulls at the Gravettian Předmostí site, the Czech Republic
by Mietje Germonpré, Martina Lázničková-Galetová, and Mikhail V. Sablin
Journal of Archaeological Science, 2012, Vol, 39(1), p. 184-202

Complete Mitochondrial Genomes of Ancient Canids Suggest a European Origin of Domestic Dogs
by Olaf Thalmann, and others
Science, 2013, Vol. 342(6160), p. 871-874

Fossil dogs and wolves from Palaeolithic sites in Belgium, the Ukraine and Russia: osteometry, ancient DNA and stable isotopes
by Mietje Germonpréa, and others
Journal of Archaeological Science, 2009, Vol. 36(2), p. 473-490

Morphological Evidence for Early Dog Domestication in the European Pleistocene: The Randomization Approach
by Patrik Galeta, Martina Lázničková‐Galetová, Mikhail Sablin, and Mietje Germonpré
The Anatomical Record, 2020,


About Mietje Germonpré

Dr. Germonpré is a palaeontologist and archaeozoologist, at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, in Brussels, Belgium. Her research includes subjects such as prehistoric canid and the domestication of the wolf into the dog, Pleistocene fauna at Palaeolithic sites and human-animal relationships, and the seasonality and mobility of the last Neanderthals and first anatomically modern humans in North-Western Europe from a faunal perspective. Her research suggests that the wolf was domesticated into a dog more than 30,000 years ago, twice as long as assumed by the current view.




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