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Food by VICE

Guess What, Europe? You Ate Dogs, Too

Horrified by the parts of the world where dog meat is still eaten? Well, you may want to sit tight—because your way-back relatives may have lived off of Milo and Otis too.

by Munchies Staff
Jan 20 2015, 11:48pm

Photo via Flickr user ny156uk

You may want to hold on to your hats before indulging in the stereotype of dog-eating as something exclusively found only in small pockets of East Asia. Historically speaking, man's best friend was also sometimes man's best dinner option—in Europe.

A team of archaeologists from the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution have discovered the ancient remains of domesticated dogs, foxes, wild cats, and badgers bearing human teeth marks and "signs of culinary processing," according to The Guardian. And the implication is that they were not necessarily friends, but food.

The animal bones, which were found in a cave in the Atapuerca Mountains of Spain, date from 7,200 years old to only 3,100 years old, meaning that our not-so-distant European ancestors were making a meal of Milo & Otis—or at least their of-the-era relatives, as anthropomorphized pugs were likely scarce at the time—when hunger struck.

And why not?

Researcher Dr. Patricia Martin told the Guardian that the "disarticulated, defleshed, and boiled" dogs could have been a source of food only in times of food shortage, but our ancestors may have also been following more of a nose-to-tail philosophy, too. "It cannot be excluded in some cases the objective was to obtain the skin of these animals," she said.

The foxes, badgers, and wild cats would've been more difficult to hunt, so it's more likely that they were caught by accident and then turned into a meal, Martin noted.

Although it's difficult to imagine in our contemporary world of industrialized animal agriculture, wherein all but the small minority of our meat comes from cows, chickens, and pigs, there wouldn't have been anything so strange about gnawing on a dog or badger leg. After all, protein is protein.

Our great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents, picking their teeth with a cat's claw, might argue that we've all gone soft.

Dog meat