Broken Friendships

Listen to Today's Edition
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Australia’s modern relationship with its dingoes is not very friendly.

The animals are responsible for attacks on livestock to such an extent that officials implement culls and have even erected a nearly 3,500-mile-long fence to keep the wild dog species at bay.

How far these creatures have fallen.

Long ago, dingoes had an “almost human status” among the country’s Indigenous population centuries ago, Cosmos magazine reported.

For their research, archeologists looked into the bones of seven dingoes buried at an archeological site south of Sydney. They explained that the bones dated between 2,000 and 800 years.

What stood out was the way the animals were buried: The burial process and disposal method resembled those associated with human rites in the same area, according to lead study author Loukas Koungoulos.

Koungoulos noted that some of the remains showed some dingoes had severely worn teeth, which could mean that the animals were being fed large bones and scraps from humans.

One dingo also appeared to have suffered from a severe cancer that restricted its mobility. The burial suggested that the First Nations people at the time took care of it during its final days.

Dingoes arrived in Australia 4,000-8,000 years ago, long after Aboriginal groups were known to exist on Australia’s shores.

Previous research suggested that First Nations temporarily raised them as pups and released them into the wild once they reached sexual maturity.

But the findings showed that even though dingoes weren’t domesticated the same way as modern dogs are, they had an important role in Indigenous life and culture.

“This study adds yet more evidence to the urgent need to respect and conserve the cultural values of dingoes, in addition to their key ecological roles such as keeping herbivore numbers in check,” said Euan Ritchie, a dingo researcher not involved in the study.

Not already a subscriber?

If you would like to receive DailyChatter directly to your inbox each morning, subscribe below with a free two-week trial.

Subscribe today

Support journalism that’s independent, non-partisan, and fair.

If you are a student or faculty with a valid school email, you can sign up for a FREE student subscription or faculty subscription.

Questions? Write to us at

Copy link