I would think that the wolf was domesticated when the mother was killed trying to eat someone’s livestock or children; the pups would be much easier marks for domestication, and are of course adorable (even coyote pups are adorable, but coyotes not so much ;’). That’s the main reason I don’t think there’s much to this result — unless the wolf cubs adopted the hunters, of course. A small group of (quasi-) domesticated wolves would identify with its group of humans, and actually enhance territorial boundaries of a village or other group.
The estimated age of settled agriculture has moved back from about 5500 years (19th c and before) to the 10K figure still often thrown around, but the earliest (uncalibrated, ergo, too low) radiocarbon date for a domesticated barley sample found (I think) in SE Anatolia is 14,000 years BP. That’s just a sample which happens to have survived, it’s easy to imagine that survival of a small sample of a food crop (already perishable) must be a rare event, and that it won’t be surprising when someone finds proxy data of agricultural activity that is much earlier than this.
My view is, we already have it in the form of post holes of a series of structures (a village) dating to about 800,000 years ago, discovered in China. I wouldn’t argue against the raw possibility that hunter-gatherer methods couldn’t support a large population, I’d merely point out that no one has ever shown the least evidence that it ever has.
The precolonial population of North America has to be estimated from the remains of tribal settlements (since they were illiterate apparently, and didn’t take census data and so on), but before European settlement (not counting the probable though transient Viking presence, and more controversially Celts about 1000 years earlier) and the inadvertent introduction of new diseases, the population west of the Mississippi — almost entirely agrarian, in addition to supplemental hunting — was over 40 million; the population of what is now Mexico was over 50 million and almost entirely agrarian (complete with pretty ambitious and varied methods of irrigation, all the way down into the Panamanian isthmus). Corn (maize) domestication appears to have spread outward from Mexico, and its use as food is at least 8700 years old.
That does go back a ways.
OK, Civ, all this makes a lot of sense. But let’s just say I wouldn’t have wanted to be among the first people to pet my new friend, Mr. Wolf.