Darcy Morey, a faculty member at Radford University who has studied dog evolution for decades, said a study from the 1980s dated a dog found at Danger Cave
, Utah, at between 9,000 and 10,000 years old.
This is because Danger Cave contains seed-processing residue, human palaeofaecal samples and abundant groundstone artefacts (grinding stones and handstones) associated with small-seed processing all found in deposits dated as old as 10 300 b.
We demonstrate that small-seed consumption and processing began at Danger Cave c.
Jennings's original radiocarbon dating of the hearths, together with recent excavations we have conducted, confirm that this earliest human occupation of Danger Cave took place at 10 300 b.
This halophytic playa-margin shrub produces tiny seeds that rank low in caloric efficiency (Simms 1987), but the seeds were evidently processed and eaten in substantial quantities during the middle and late Holocene occupations at Danger Cave (Fry 1976; Madsen & Rhode 1990; Rhode & Madsen 1998).
at Danger Cave is an important empirical underpinning for concepts that entail an ancient and long-running 'Palaeoarchaic' to 'Archaic' tradition of broad-spectrum subsistence strategies in the Great Basin (Aikens & Madsen 1986; Fowler 1986; Jennings 1957, 1978; Willig & Aikens 1988).
Because Danger Cave is both so influential and so exceptional, a detailed reconsideration of the age of small-seed consumption and processing at the site is needed.
Palaeofaecal specimens are the most direct evidence available for prehistoric diet, and the age test for these specimens has a straightforward expectation: if small seeds were an important dietary component of Danger Cave inhabitants as early as 9000-10 000 b.
The lowest pickleweed chaff processing layer in Danger Cave dates to 8570 [+ or -] 40 b.
Danger Cave appears to have been only sparsely and sporadically inhabited during that time; the majority of occupation debris comprising the DII level is younger than that.
Taken together, all three tests fail to support claims for significant small-seed processing and consumption at Danger Cave prior to 8700 b.