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A new study suggested that humans had used dogs for hunting much earlier than previously thought. The study conducted by researchers at the University of Copenhagen made this conclusion after analyzing 11,500-year-old animal bones discovered in the northern regions of Jordan.

As per the study, published in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, researchers who took part in the study revealed that the introduction of dogs as humans' hunting partners may explain the dramatic increase of hares and other small prey in the archaeological remains at the explored ancient site.

The ancient animal bones, which was unearthed from Shubayqa 6 in northeast Jordan, revealed that humans not only domesticated dogs, but they hunt together to catch preys. It should be noted that humans domesticated dogs as early as 14,000 years, and scientists are pretty unclear whether this move was accidental or for a real purpose.

"The study of the large assemblage of animal bones from Shubayqa 6 revealed a large proportion of bones with unmistakable signs of having passed through the digestive tract of another animal; these bones are so large that they cannot have been swallowed by humans, but must have been digested by dogs," said Lisa Yeomans, the lead author of the study, Science Daily reports.

Researchers also suggested that humans in the ancient days might have used dogs to hunt smaller preys like hares and foxes.

"The use of dogs for hunting smaller, fast prey such as hares and foxes, perhaps driving them into enclosures, could provide an explanation that is in line with the evidence we have gathered. The shift may also be associated with a change in hunting technique from a method, such as netting, that saw an unselective portion of the hare population captured, to a selective method of hunting in which individual animals were targeted. This could have been achieved by dogs," added Yeomans.