Early man hunted mammoths for food for about a million years, and then suddenly got really good at it about 44,000 years ago. The evidence for this are great collections of bones dating back about that far, arranged with the aid of man. The bones are from mammoths of all ages, which tells us they did not die naturally, and they lack the gnawing evidence of animal scavengers. They were hunted, possibly herded into the killing area. A paper by Penn State anthropologist Pat Shipman presents a theory of how mammoth hunting took quantum leap: the use of domesticated dogs.
"Dogs help hunters find prey faster and more often, and dogs also can surround a large animal and hold it in place by growling and charging while hunters move in. Both of these effects would increase hunting success," Shipman said. "Furthermore, large dogs like those identified by Germonpré either can help carry the prey home or, by guarding the carcass from other carnivores, can make it possible for the hunters to camp at the kill sites." Shipman said that these predictions already have been confirmed by other analyses. In addition, she said, "if hunters working with dogs catch more prey, have a higher intake of protein and fat, and have a lower expenditure of energy, their reproductive rate is likely to rise."