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      Ice Age mammals such as the mastodon (Mammut americanum), mammoth (Mammuthus jeffersonii), and peccary (Platygonus) were extinct by the beginning of the Archaic period. They were replaced by a variety of animals, many of which are still common in the state today such as the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), raccoon (Procyon lotor), and opossum (Didelphidae virginiana). Also common were a variety of amphibians, reptiles, fish, and mussels, all of which remain in Illinois today.

Dog burial Dog burial, Koster site, Greene County

The remains of at least four domesticated dogs were buried by Early Archaic people at the Koster site more than eight-thousand years ago. Each dog was laid on its side in a shallow grave and then covered with dirt. None of the graves appear to have been marked. The dogs were buried in an area of the village where residents also buried the remains of adults and children.

Archaic people in North America, like people elsewhere in the world, developed an extraordinary relationship with wolves. Archaeologists are not sure how, why, or exactly when Native Americans tamed wolves, but the result of this experiment is the domesticated dog (Canis familiaris). Some of the oldest dogs in North America were found at the Koster site in Greene County, Illinois. At Koster, archaeologists found the graves of four dogs in an Early Archaic settlement. Wood charcoal from one of the graves is 8,500 years old. Each grave contained a nearly complete skeleton of a dog. They were deliberately buried in shallow graves, the same treatment residents of the community provided for people who died.

Dogs probably played a key role in the development of hunting techniques used by Archaic people. There is no evidence at Koster that dogs themselves were a source of food.

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