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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Were the Native American Mound Builders trying to domesticate Bobcats 2000 years ago in the region we now call Missouri?.............Analysis of was thought to be a dog buried with a person from archaeological digs at the Hopewell Indian burial mounds has been reclassified as a Bobcat........ It is the only decorated wild cat burial in the archaeological record” and it provides conjecture as to whether a complex(pet-like) relationship existed between Bobcats and humans in the prehistoric Americas........Other Scientists conjecture that the bobcat may have been buried not as a former pet, but on account of its symbolic status— possible connection to the spiritual world of the wild............... While every Researcher will tell you that it is virtually impossible to make a solid determination of intent from just one specimen, this discovery is certainly worth pondering about further and debating what this Tribe had in mind as it laid this animal to rest

Did Ancient Native Americans Try to Domesticate Bobcats?

.The 2,000-year-old remains of a carefully decorated
 and deliberately buried juvenile bobcat has scientists
 wondering if it’s the first example of feline
 domestication in the prehistoric Americas.
The remains of the bobcat were originally discovered in 
the 1980s at the Illinois Hopewell Burial Mounds just 
north of St. Louis. Archaeologists had mistakenly 
identified the bones as belonging to a young dog and
 placed it in the archives of the Illinois State Museum in
 Springfield. Now, a new analysis by Ph.D. student Angel
a Perri and her team from the University of Durham in 
the UK, has correctly identified the bones as belonging
 to a bobcat (Lynx rufus) that was likely between four
 and seven months old when it perished. The results
 of their work can now be found at Midcontinental
Journal of Archaeology
Did Ancient Native Americans Try to Domesticate Bobcats?
Incredibly, the bobcat kitten was buried by a group of 
Middle Woodland Native Americans in a very human-like 
way, among the remains of humans and dogs. The bobcat 
was adorned with a necklace made from seashells, along
 with a bone carved to look like bear teeth (seen above). 
What’s more, the complete skeleton showed no signs of
 trauma, which suggests it wasn’t sacrificed.

Writing in AAAS Science News, David Grimm explains more:

The archaeologists say it’s “the only decorated wild cat burial
 in the archaeological record” and that it “provides compelling
 evidence for a complex relationship between felids and
 humans in the prehistoric Americas, including possible taming
.”Alternately, the bobcat may have been buried not as a former
 pet, but on account of its symbolic status— possible connection
 to the spiritual world of the wild. As Grimm correctly points
 out in his article, it’s virtually impossible to make a solid
 determination of intent from just one specimen. Still, it’s
 an incredibly unique and fascinating discovery.

More at AAAS Science News. And read the entire study
 at Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology: “A Bobcat
 Burial and Other Reported Intentional Animal Burials
 from Illinois Hopewell Mounds.”

The Elizabeth site is a bluff-top mortuary mound group constructed and primarily used during Hopewellian (Middle Woodland) times. Recent reanalysis of nonhuman skeletal remains from the site reveals that an intentional burial previously identified as a dog (Canis familiaris) is actually an immature bobcat (Lynx rufus). As a result of this discovery, we reevaluated eight other purported animal burials from Illinois Middle Woodland mounds, including seven dogs and a roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja). The dogs all appear to be intrusive or unrelated burial events, but both the bobcat and the roseate spoonbill were definite Hopewellian mortuary interments. The roseate spoonbill was decapitated and placed beside a double human burial. But the bobcat was a separate, human-like interment wearing a necklace of shell beads and effigy bear canine teeth. To our knowledge, this is the only decorated wild cat burial in the archaeological record. It provides compelling evidence for a complex relationship between felids and humans in the prehistoric Americas, including possible taming.

When Perri told [Kenneth] Farnsworth [a Hopewell expert at the Illinois State Archaeological Survey in Champaign], he was floored. “It shocked me to my toes,” he says. “I’ve never seen anything like it in almost 70 excavated mounds.” Because the mounds were intended for humans, he says, somebody bent the rules to get the cat buried there. “Somebody important must have convinced other members of the society that it must be done. I’d give anything to know why.”
Perri, who reports the discovery with Farnsworth and another colleague this week in the Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology, has her suspicions. The pomp and circumstance of the burial, she says, “suggests this animal had a very special place in the life of these people.” And the age of the kitten implies that the villagers brought it in from the wild—perhaps as an orphan—and may have tried to raise it. Bobcats, she notes, are only about twice the size of a housecat and are known to be quite tamable. The necklace seals the deal for her. She thinks it may have been a collar, a sign that the animal was a cherished pet. “This is the closest you can get to finding taming in the archaeological record,” says Perri, who believes the find provides a window into how other animals—whether they be dogs or livestock—were brought into human society and domesticated. “They saw the potential of this animal to go beyond wild.”

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