The Peru's mummy dogs are 80 dogs which were found in an ancient cemetery near Ilo. They were buried with the remains of some 2000 people. With their fur and tissue well preserved by the region's arid climate, some of the dogs are well preserved. Although it is still a mystery what Peruvians were using these dogs for, some researchers believe that these dogs were more than just pets.
About 30 of the dogs were wrapped in llama-wool blankets as finely woven as those accompanying low-ranking people buried nearby. The dogs were interred in individual grave pits. Under the local climate, they evolved into mummies.
Guillen and Peruvian veterinarian Ermanno Maniero have gathered samples from both the ancient and living dogs to see if they share enough genetic material to be classified as the same breed. If so, Guillen has already proposed a name for them: the Chiribaya shepherd.
Most of the Ilo dogs seem to have died of natural causes, but some appear to have been killed by a blow to the head.
- The Chiribaya shepherd would not be the only ancient American breed to survive into the present.
- Maniero conducted genetic tests in 1985 that showed the Inca hairless or viringo- a dog that is almost completely bald and live throughout coastal Peru- is descended from a breed depicted on Peruvian pottery starting at about A.D.750.
- That dog is believed to be an offshoot of a hairless breed that appeared on Mexican Colima pottery nearly 1000 years earlier.
- The Mexican breed appears to have been brought to Peru by oceangoing traders, showing a co-evolution of humans and dogs.
Atwood, R. (2007). Peru's Mummy Dogs. Archaeology, 60(1), 42-43. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/41780201