Our Research

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The first inhabitants of America lived with dogs in different cultures and places on the continent. These dogs had different characteristics, most of them had a medium trunk with short legs, others had medium legs, long or short hair, a long or short snout, and droopy or upright ears.

Research by Proyecto XULO, identification by Dr. Raúl Valadez Azúa.

Classification: Dog, Canis familiaris.

Collection: National Museum of Costa Rica, Department of Natural History.



There were some dogs, now extinct, with a wool-like fur, and others that attracted much attention from Spanish chroniclers in the 16th century, the hairless dogs. The latter are extinct in Costa Rica because the Spanish colonizers found them to be a delicacy. Also, dogs were a very important symbol in the cosmogony of the ancient peoples of this region and the Spanish decided to eliminate them as part of their colonization process.


Background

Knowing that there are scientific and historical studies in Peru and Mexico on the different types of dogs that lived with humans in the ancient settlements of the Americas, we carried out an investigative journey in these two countries with the purpose of studying the associations of the dog in those territories where it was very important. At the same time, we gathered knowledge by interviewing specialists on the subject, visiting archaeological sites, analyzing and documenting archaeological pieces, and collecting a bibliography on the subject.


In Costa Rica we carried out the search and identification of these canids with archaeological pieces of the different Collections of the Jade Museum, Gold Museum and National Museum.

We know that, since the times of the Spanish colonization, the presence of the dog has been, in one way or another, eliminated to the point that, in this region, hairless dogs disappeared.

During our research and analysis of canine skeletal remains we have been able to identify representations of dogs that have often been confused with jaguars or other mammals, which were normally represented in iconagraphics.

We are currently in the process of reviewing the bibliography: codices, chronicles and studies by specialists related to the subject. We are also advancing, in the documented investigation, audio and video of the information collected in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and other parts of America.

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