Prior to European settlement, indigenous members of the species Canis lupus familiaris (Domestic Dog) was, aside from humans, the most common large predator in the North American northeast. Dogs served Indian communities throughout the year, but their value increased over the winter. Light enough to run over packed snow, Domestic Dogs chased down Alces alces (Moose) and Odocoileus virginianus (White-tailed Deer). They protected food stores from vermin, provided warmth at night, and acted as a meat source during times of dearth. Domestic Dogs facilitated the fur trade by sniffing out the frozen lodges of Castor canadensis (Beaver). Although they often hunted and scavenged autonomously, it was through their symbiotic partnership with humans that indigenous Dogs helped to define the Northeast's early modern ecology.
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Vol. 24 • No. sp7