The Fox May Have Been Man's 'Real' First Best Friend

PetMD Editorial
Published: February 28, 2011
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The fact that archaeologists uncovered an ancient burial site in northern Jordan recently wasn't big news. What was unusual was that a fox was buried alongside human remains.

"When we were first excavating the site, we thought it might have been a dog," Cambridge researcher Lisa Maher told NPR's Linda Wetheimer. "It wasn't until her team analyzed the animal's remains that it realized it was a fox."

It seems that humans may have been making an early attempt to keep foxes -- red foxes, to be exact -- as pets some 16,000 years ago, which is several millennia before animals were thought to have been domesticated.

There is also a possibility that the fox wasn't a pet at all. It may have had a totemic or spiritual significance to the culture.

Whatever the case may be, life certainly would be a bit more interesting if we had a bunch of red fox descendants in our homes and yards nowadays, don't you think?

Image: Mike Baird / via Flickr

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