Volumen 5. Issue 1. Year 2007.

2020-03-28T19:18:24+02:00octubre 26th, 2019|Volumen 5. Issue 1. Year 2007.|

VOLUME 5. NUMBER 1. 2007

Micromammals: When Humans are the Hunters.

Genevieve Dewar, Antonietta Jerardino.


[+info] VOLUME 5. ISSUE 1. 2007 (1 issue)

Analysis of the faunal remains from KV502, a Later Stone Age occupation site in Namaqualand, South Africa yielded an assemblage dominated by micromammal cranial remains. The material from KV502 was compared to an assemblage of microfauna collected from the stomach area of a human burial from the same general region. This consisted entirely of post-crania. The pattern of relative abundance of elements, the degree of fragmentation of the long bones, and the level of acid etching observed in the remains of the human burial can be used to identify micromammals consumed by humans. The complementary pattern (or evidence) for processing micromammal remains by humans is identified at KV502. Further, it was determined that from the degree of modification to the bones, humans should be considered a category 5 predator following Andrews' (1990) classification. This increases the database of possible predators of micromammals, which is important when using microfauna to determine palaeoenvironments, as the preferential 'tastes' of a predator will bias the species list.

Download [Restricted Access]

Quantification and Age Structure of Semi-Hypsodont Extinct Rodent Populations.

Katerina Vasileiadou, Jerry J. Hooker, Margaret E. Collinson.


[+info] VOLUME 5. ISSUE 1. 2007 (2 issue)

A new method of calculating the MNI and a full lifespan mortality profile in assemblages of semi-hypsodont rodents is proposed. Fossil jaws of the Paleogene theridomyid genera Isoptychus, Theridomys? and Pseudoltinomys show similar patterns of dental replacement, eruption and wear for all three genera. Deciduous premolars on the point of being replaced by their permanent successors coexist in jaws with erupting, unworn, unrooted third molars. The minimum number of individuals (MNI) in a theridomyid assemblage, of which the local origin is demonstrated, can therefore be calculated using the sum of deciduous premolars plus the most abundant of the permanent premolars or third molars. The teeth used to estimate the MNI of a species can also be used for the construction of its mortality profile. The ratio of an age-dependent crown height measurement to an age-independent crown width measurement is used as an age proxy for the establishment of 'age groups'. Wear patterns correspond well to age groups and, thus, broken unmeasurable specimens need not be excluded, as their wear stage can be used to assign them to 'age groups'.
Using these methods, the MNI and mortality profiles of one Isoptychus sp. and two Thalerimys fordi assemblages from the Late Eocene Solent Group (Hampshire Basin, Isle of Wight, southern England) were reconstructed. The mortality is attritional, showing a characteristic 'U-shape' in the distribution of the individuals in 'age groups'. The members of the three species, therefore, died of biological natural causes and not by a catastrophic event. This method can be applied to fossil semi-hypsodont micromammalian species, provided dental ontogeny is known. The method enables the construction of mortality profiles for the complete age range and, consequently, allows the analysis of the accumulation mechanisms of assemblages of semi-hypsodont rodents, with deciduous and permanent premolars. It can readily be applied to assemblages consisting only of isolated teeth.

Download [Restricted Access]

Estimating the preservation of tooth structures: towards a new scale of observation.

Yannicke Dauphin, Stéphane Montuelle, Cécile Quantin, Pierre Massard.


[+info] VOLUME 5. ISSUE 1. 2007 (3 issue)

For a better understanding of the fossilization processes and the paleoenvironmental records, knowing the state of preservation of fossil structures is essential. This paper presents how the analysis of tooth structures can be improved by using techniques increasing spatial resolution and accuracy, like atomic force microscopy (AFM). Micro- and nanostructural changes of the fresh and fossil dentine and enamel of two Suidae were thus observed with scanning electron (SEM) and atomic force microscopes. AFM and SEM show similar images for enamel and dentine in fresh teeth, whereas discrepancy occurs for fossil teeth. Both techniques show that dentine is modified by taphonomic and diagenetic processes, but only AFM is able to reveal that enamel is also altered, because AFM magnification and resolution are better than SEM ones. The apparent state of tissue preservation depends on the scale of observation and AFM, an analytical tool and a non-destructive/direct technique, allows a better understanding of the evolution of tissues at a nano-scale.

Download [Restricted Access]

The Taphonomist´s Corner: Make hay while the sun shines.

David K. Ferguson


Download [Restricted Access]

Volumen 5. Issue 2. Year 2007.

2020-03-28T19:18:37+02:00octubre 26th, 2019|Volumen 5. Issue 2. Year 2007.|

VOLUME 5. NUMBER 2. 2007

Taphonomic Analysis of Pseudalopex griseus (Gray, 1837) Scat Assemblages and their Archaeological Implications.

Gustavo N. Gómez, Cristian A. Kaufmann.


[+info] VOLUME 5. ISSUE 2. 2007 (1 issue)

Grey fox (Pseudalopex griseus) scats deposited in the immediate vicinity of guanaco (Lama guanicoe) carcasses were analyzed to evaluate this carnivore´s transport of bones. Samples were from the arid, semi-desert Río Negro Province, Argentina, where the annual mean temperature (15ºC) varies widely with the season. Rates of breakage, the presence of tooth marks and digestion traces on bones from scats were analyzed to categorize the taphonomic signature of the small grey fox. The values of the modification variables used in the categorization indicate that the grey fox (Pseudalopex griseus) may be considered a Category 5 predator.

Download [Restricted Access]

Taphonomy of the Oxfordian-Lowermost Kimmeridgian Siliceous Sponges of the Prebetic Zone (Southern Iberia).

M. Reolid


[+info] VOLUME 5. ISSUE 2. 2007 (2 issue)

The siliceous sponges in the Oxfordian-lowermost Kimmeridgian deposits of the Prebetic were important rock-forming organisms, and the most important in the spongiolithic lithofacies group. The siliceous sponges were in several cases the main component in macroinvertebrate assemblages. This taphonomic analysis shows the sequence of processes that occur in the fossilization of siliceous sponges.
As soon as the sponge is dead, the fixation to the substrate is weakened and currents or organisms can tilt and overturn the sponge. The decay of soft tissue led to the precipitation of automicrites (possibly influenced by sulphate-reducing bacteria); at the same time skeletal silica dissolves where, later, the calcitic cementation is produced. Afterwards, the sponge remains were bored by lithophagous bivalves and colonized in the upward surfaces by benthic microbial communities and nubeculariids, and secondarily other foraminifera, whereas downward surfaces were encrusted by annelids (serpulids and terebellids), sessile foraminifera (Tolypammina, Subdelloidina, and Bullopora among others) and bryozoans. Local fragmentation of sponges and their encrustations formed the tuberoids, which behave like an intraclast subjected to transport and encrustation.

Download [Restricted Access]

A Multidisciplinary Approach Reveals an Extraordinary Double Inhumation in the Osteoarchaeological Record.

J. Rascón Pérez , O. Cambra-Moo A. González Martín.


[+info] VOLUME 5. ISSUE 2. 2007 (3 issue)

An exceptional archaeological discovery from the Muslim Baza necropolis is reported. An unusual double inhumation presents a complete skeleton of a pregnant woman close to childbirth time, and the skeletal remains of a fetus located between her femora (i.e., outside the abdominal or pelvic area). A first osteological review showed a complete fetus skeleton apparently disconnected. However, a deeper evaluation of the material revealed a more articulated state without signs of any taphonomic alterations or scavenger marks. On the one hand, ancient Muslim traditions suggest that if a baby dies during pregnancy or in premature childbirth, but the mother survives, the baby must be extracted and entombed individually. On the other hand, both skeletons do not present evidences of obstetric problems that could explain unexpected labour complications. Therefore, in the case reported in the present work, it is clear that the mother died before or at the same time as the baby, and she was entombed with the baby inside. A multidisciplinary revision of anthropological, archaeological, taphonomic and cultural data obtained through literature, has been combined with recent data extracted from decomposition experiments (i.e., actuo-taphonomy). This heuristic scenario has allowed us to build a parsimonious hypothesis in which such an unusual location of the fetus remains could be explained by analyzing the known steps in taphonomic-forensic dynamics. It is argued that before both corpses were finally skeletonized and covered with sediment, the mother corpse accumulated gas due to organic tissue degradation, and ejected the fetus remains out of the abdominal cavity.

Download [Restricted Access]

The Taphonomist´s Corner: Dirty Landing.

Christian A. Meyer


Download [Restricted Access]

Volumen 5. Issue 3. Year 2007.

2020-03-28T19:18:52+02:00octubre 26th, 2019|Volumen 5. Issue 3. Year 2007.|

VOLUME 5. NUMBER 3. 2007

The Aquatic Genus Notonecta (Insecta: Heteroptera) as a Palaeo-ecological Indicator of Rhythmite Miming Sequences in Shallow Freshwater Deposits.

Jean-Claude Paicheler , André Nel, Jean-Claude Gall, Xavier Delclòs.


[+info] VOLUME 5. ISSUE 3. 2007 (1 issue)

We study the processes of laminae formation in the Oligo-Miocene volcano-sedimentary palaeolakes of the Gürçü-Dere Valley (Anatolia, Turkey). These deposits contain a rich macro- and micro-flora and vertebrate and insect fauna. The deposition and fossilisation of these organisms' remains are related to the development of the lakes' surface and bottom microbial mats. These strata are made of two types of rhythmite or varve, imitating dark and clear laminae sequences. The first type is (detritic + organic material) / diatoms at the Bes-Konak palaeolake, probably not of seasonal origin (rhythmite), but providing evidence of short ecological 'mini-catastrophes', a few weeks long, in confined environments. The second type is (diatoms + organic matter) / dolomite at the Iybeler palaeolake, probably of seasonal origin (varve). For the first time, we show that fossil insects, i.e. the Notonecta spp., are highly relevant to determining the relative duration and mechanisms of the depositions of these laminae.

Download [Restricted Access]

Carnivore Bone Portion Choice and Surface Modification on Modern Experimental Boiled Bone Assemblages.

Jessica C. Thompson, Yolanda Lee-Gorishti.


[+info] VOLUME 5. ISSUE 3. 2007 (2 issue)

Numerous experiments on modern bone assemblages have demonstrated that carnivores preferentially ravage bone portions that have high fat content such as ribs, vertebrae, pelves, and the spongy ends of long bones. If marrow is present in long bones, carnivores will break them to access it. If humans remove the marrow first, carnivores typically ignore midshaft fragments and focus on spongy portions that contain bone grease. These portions are swallowed and the grease is extracted within the gut. Many modern human groups regularly implement bone boiling technology to extract grease, and this technology is also known to have existed during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene - particularly among high-latitude hunter-gatherer groups. Because most actualistic studies of bone surface modification and carnivore bone portion choice are based on unboiled bones, the results may not be applicable to archaeological assemblages in which bone boiling technology was utilized. An experimental evaluation of the effects that bone boiling has on carnivore bone portion choice and relative proportions of human and carnivore bone surface modification indicates that; 1) The extraction of bone grease from bone ends during boiling, particularly prolonged boiling, causes carnivores to become less selective in bone portion choice; and 2) As a likely result of this decreased selectivity, the relative proportions of tooth- and percussion-marked midshaft fragments in heavily boiled assemblages (those boiled longer than 10 hours) is not likely to remain a reliable indicator of the timing of carnivore and human interaction with an assemblage.

Download [Restricted Access]

Differential Fragmentation of Different Ungulate Body-Size: A Comparison of Gazelle and Fallow Deer Bone Fragmentation in Levantine Prehistoric Assemblages.

Reuven Yeshurun, Nimrod Marom, Guy Bar-Oz.


[+info] VOLUME 5. ISSUE 3. 2007 (3 issue)

Differences amongst ungulate body-size classes in archaeofaunal assemblages are frequently used to infer economic structure, human transport and processing decisions, or pre-burial taphonomic processes. It was found that bones of larger ungulates (fallow deer, Dama mesopotamica) are generally more fragmented than analogous elements of smaller ungulates (mountain gazelle, Gazella gazella). This pattern is consistent across several Levantine Paleolithic and Epipaleolithic bone assemblages and does not stem from recovery or identification biases, or from animal-induced taphonomic causes such as carnivore ravaging. We suggest that the greater fragmentation of larger animals is an artifact of either differential human processing of large and small animals, or of post-depositional attritional processes. Our analysis points to the greater likelihood of the latter scenario. We conclude that inter-taxonomic comparisons should consider the possibility that key zooarchaeological measures may be biased due to differential size-related fragmentation, affecting inferences on human behavior, taphonomic processes, and paleoenvironments.

Download [Restricted Access]

The Taphonomist´s Corner: Chasing carnivores.

Jose Yravedra


Download [Restricted Access]

Volumen 5. Issue 4. Year 2007.

2020-03-28T19:19:04+02:00octubre 26th, 2019|Volumen 5. Issue 4. Year 2007.|

VOLUME 5. NUMBER 4. 2007

Criteria for the Identification of Formation Processes in Guanaco (Lama guanicoe) Bone Assemblages in Fluvial-Lacustrine Environments.

María A. Gutierrez, Cristian A. Kaufmann.


[+info] VOLUME 5. ISSUE 4. 2007 (1 issue)

The aim of this paper is to present and discuss methodological criteria that may be of use in exploring the role of water in the formation of the faunal record in fluvial and lacustrine environments. As such, the dispersion potential of the bones of adult and neonate guanaco (Lama guanicoe) skeletons in an aquatic environment with very low hydraulic energy is evaluated through experimentation. Results of the experiments are integrated with other, complementary criteria and applied to the bone assemblage recovered at Paso Otero 1 site, situated on the margin of the ancient flood plain of the Quequén Grande River (Buenos Aires Province, Argentina). The results of this study indicate that water was the main agent responsible for guanaco bone accumulation at the site. It is proposed that some of the skeletal parts, which belong to guanaco carcasses that were processed and exploited by hunter-gatherers in areas close to the site, were added to those from animals that died naturally. This resulted in a mixture of material of both natural and anthropic origin.

Download [Restricted Access]

Taphonomy in Present Day Desertic Environment: The Case of the Djourab (Chad) Plio-Pleistocene Deposits.

Denys, Christiane, Schuster M., Guy F., Mouchelin G.,Vignaud P., Viriot L., Brunet M, Duringer P., Fanoné F., Djimdoumalbaye A, Likius A, Mackaye H.T., Sudre J.


[+info] VOLUME 5. ISSUE 4. 2007 (2 issue)

Preliminary taphonomic studies were conducted on three different early hominid Chadian sites aged between 5 Ma and 3 Ma (KB, KL, KT fossil areas). Specific excavations and taphonomic sampling protocols were established. Research of the various alterations and the origins of bone modifications were carried out. All fossil assemblages bear traces of carnivore tooth marks as well as weathering and wind/water polishing. Digestion is present on bones from the KB & KL sites. Rootmark traces were found only on bones from the KB and KT sites. All three sites display various polishing patterns among which much of the abrasion results from wind polishing on the top surface, on the exposed face of large flat bones difficult to move. By contrast water action works on all faces of polished bones. KL seems to show more water transport influence than the two other sites. Weathering stages are light to heavy (stages 2-4) and the presence of gnawing, and traces of roots plus tooth marks indicates that bones stayed sometimes on the soil surface and that the assemblages may be of attritional origin. But the low density of bones and the presence of a very thin fossil layer are very exceptional and it is not clear weather the fossil sites have been condensed during the past or if this is the result of present day extreme desert conditions. More detailed work on other Djourab sites should allow to refine the taphonomic history concerning these early hominid accumulations and formation.

Download [Restricted Access]

Brachiopod Shells on the Beach: Taphonomic Overprinting in a Fair-Weather Shell Accumulation.

Marcello Guimarães Simões, Sabrina Coelho Rodrigues, Juliana de Moraes Leme, Ricardo Angelim Pires-Domingues.


[+info] VOLUME 5. ISSUE 4. 2007 (3 issue)

This study documents the occurrence of brachiopod shells (Bouchardia rosea) in wrack-lines from backshore deposits of a tropical beach (Itamambuca beach), in the northern coast (Ubatuba County) of the state of São Paulo, Brazil. The main goals are: (a) to analyze the provenance and sorting of the brachiopod shells; (b) to provide the taphonomic signatures of the shells, which may favor the recognizance, description and diagnoses of similar shell concentrations in ancient rocks, and (c) to discuss the taphonomic meaning of these detrital accumulations. Sampling transects were done at the reflective and dissipative sectors of the Itamambuca beach. For this project, two thousand brachiopod shells were collected and examined. In general, shells are minute, pale in color, and extremely rounded with reduced shell micro-relieves. Abrasion is the main taphonomic signature recorded. Abraded shells are characterized by V-shaped scars on the external surface, exposing the secondary fibrous layer of the shell microstructure. In some cases, holes produced by abrasion (facets) are recorded in the most convex portion of the shells. A pronounced bias in favor of ventral valve is also noted, and the size frequency distribution of shells is shaped by taphonomy. Finally, shells show intense taphonomic overprinting, but the taphonomic signatures recorded on those shells are worth to provide valuable clues about the taphonomic pathways and spatial transportation of each bioclast.

Download [Restricted Access]

The Taphonomist´s Corner: Taphonomy and praxis.

Mariano Padilla Cano


Download [Restricted Access]

Ir a Arriba