Volumen 1 Issue 2 Year 2003

2020-03-27T20:43:48+02:00octubre 26th, 2019|Volumen 1. Issue 2. Year 2003.|

VOLUME 1. NUMBER 2. 2003

Decay and Disarticulation of Small Vertebrates in Controlled Experiments.

Leonard R. Brand, Michael Hussey, John Taylor.


[+info] VOLUME 1. ISSUE 2. 2003 (1 issue)

A study was conducted to examine the timing and nature of decay and disarticulation in small vertebrates, using an experimental regime that allowed comparison among different environments, and different size classes of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Decay and disarticulation of freshly killed small vertebrates was documented in freshwater and seawater aquaria as well as outdoor terrestrial settings protected from scavengers by partially buried cages. Experimental animals included salamanders (two sizes), lizards, finches, doves, mice, rats, squirrels, and rabbits. The study area was hot and dry (southern California), with scattered winter rains. Some specimens of each species in the terrestrial environment were transferred after about one month to one of two other environments - freshwater, or an outdoor terrestrial cage simulating increased rainfall. In water the carcasses' flesh decayed by bacterial action in one to six months, but insect larvae removed the flesh from terrestrial carcasses within two weeks, leaving dry, desiccated carcasses that changed little over a four to 11 month period. The process of decay and disarticulation was greatly affected by differences in properties of the skin between species and the reaction of each type of skin to drying or water saturation. Disarticulation time was shortest in water, followed by the high rainfall treatment, then dry terrestrial environment. The sequence of disarticulation varied considerably, especially in the terrestrial treatment, but heads and limbs tended to separate from the body first, and then individual bones separated from the limbs. Also, the pattern of tooth loss or cracking differed among environments. These data provide an actualistic analogue to assist in the interpretation of some parameters of fossil assemblages, including maximum time between death and burial of partially or fully articulated small vertebrate fossils (about 3 months in water, but over a year in dry terrestrial conditions), or the likely paleoenvironment in which an assemblage accumulated.

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Observations on the Release of Gastroliths from Ostrich Chick Carcasses in Terrestrial and Aquatic Environments.

Oliver Wings


[+info] VOLUME 1. ISSUE 2. 2003 (2 issue)

The decomposition of two ostrich (Struthio camelus) chicks (body masses 2.1 kg and 11.5 kg) was observed in a terrestrial and an aquatic setting, respectively, in a hot and arid climate with temperatures ranging from 25-40°C. Special attention was given to the observation of the release of gastroliths from the body cavity. The results show that the gastroliths can be set free from carcasses with a body weight <12 kg after relatively short periods (3-6 days), and that a separation in an aquatic environment is likely because of prolonged floating of the carcass.

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Damage Inflicted upon Animal Bone by Wooden Projectiles: Experimental Results and Archaeological Implications.

Geoff M. Smith.


[+info] VOLUME 1. ISSUE 2. 2003 (3 issue)

Experiments with lamb carcasses were used to investigate whether any identifiable "damage signatures" are imparted by wooden spears on bones and whether these differ between a javelin and a thrusting spear. The data from the experiments demonstrated no distinction in damage caused by the two types of spears. Both spears caused high frequencies of saw-toothed fractures on ribs and vertebrae and the javelin inflicted a spiral fracture on a humerus. However, the most conclusive evidence of projectile usage was in the form of puncture wounds on scapulae. Some of the experimental damage recorded is similar to that caused by other taphonomic processes. These experiments illustrate the effectiveness and durability of wooden spears as potential hunting implements and provide insight regarding the tools, technology and subsistence strategies of Middle and Late Pleistocene hominids.

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A Taphonomic Perspective on Oldowan Hominid Encroachment on the Carnivoran Paleoguild.

Briana L. Pobiner, Robert J. Blumenschine.


[+info] VOLUME 1. ISSUE 2. 2003 (4 issue)

We argue that the evolutionary significance of prehistoric hominid carnivory will be better appreciated if taphonomic tests for evaluating the initial encroachment on the larger carnivoran paleoguild by Oldowan hominids are developed and applied to zooarchaeological assemblages. We propose that the development of taphonomic tests should be guided by three premises: 1) taphonomic measures used to test scenarios of hominid carnivory should be free of interpretive equifinalities; where equifinalities are currently suspected, these must be identified and broken; 2) carnivorans are not a single, homogeneous, taphonomic agent; actualistic research is needed to differentiate the preservable feeding traces of individual carnivore taxa; 3) multiple carnivore species should be assumed to have been involved in creation and modification of bone assemblages; the recognition of the timing and nature of the access of each carnivore to prey carcasses should be sought.
We offer some fundamental steps in developing a methodology to satisfy this research agenda, integrating information from naturalistic observations of carnivoran feeding on mammalian prey carcasses, actualistic studies that simulate the timing of hominid access to these prey carcasses, and functional aspects of presumed carnivoran paleoguilds defined by carcass size-specific edible tissue specialization and bone modification capabilities. We focus on skeletal element and element portion profiles in conjunction with the incidence, anatomical distribution and morphology of tooth marking as the relevant taphonomic measures. The ultimate goal is to diagnose and zooarchaeologically identify unambiguous traces of individual carnivoran taxa and ecological scenarios involving feeding sequences by multiple carnivore taxa, including hominids.

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Volumen 9. Issue 2. Year 2011.

2020-03-28T19:21:53+02:00octubre 26th, 2019|Volumen 9. Issue 2. Year 2011.|

VOLUME 9. NUMBER 2. 2011

The Likely Accumulators of Bones: Five Cape Porcupine Den Assemblages and the Role of Porcupines in the Post-Member 6 Infill at Sterkfontein, South Africa.

Hannah J. O’Regan, Kathleen Kuman, Ronald J. Clarke.


[+info] VOLUME 9. ISSUE 2. 2011 (1 issue)

The Cape porcupine, Hystrix africaeaustralis, is an acknowledged accumulator of bones in southern Africa. Here we examine porcupine accumulated material from five localities in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, including a re-analysis of the Nossob lair published by Brain (1981). These results are then compared to a Mid-Late Pleistocene assemblage (L/63) from Post-Member 6 at Sterkfontein. The taphonomic analyses indicate that porcupines are indiscriminate collectors of bones and other items. Unlike many other vertebrate bone accumulators porcupines do not appear to have a collection size bias, as the species represented in the assemblages range in body mass from >0.14kg to <940kg. Not all bones collected had been gnawed, and we propose a threshold of >60% gnawed bones is needed to establish that material has been collected by Cape porcupines rather than as a result of a number of other sources. Of the macrovertebrate component of the L/63 fossil assemblage, only 149 specimens exhibited porcupine gnawing (11%), while that number rose to 263 (6.97%) of the total NISP and fragment count (n= 3775). This is well below the threshold proposed in this analysis and in the published literature, indicating that porcupines are unlikely to have been a primary contributor to the L/63 assemblage. The possible role of porcupines in creating and maintaining mosaic environments through their foraging activities is also discussed.

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The Functioning of a Natural Faunal Trap in a Semi-Arid Environment: Preliminary Investigations of WZM-1, a Limestone Sinkhole Site Near Wadi Zarqa Ma’in, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

James T. Pokines, April Nowell, Michael S. Bisson, Carlos E. Cordova, Christopher J. H. Ames.


[+info] VOLUME 9. ISSUE 2. 2011 (2 issue)

Preliminary taphonomic investigations were carried out at the site of Wadi Zarqa Ma'in 1 (WZM-1), at 31o37'N, 35o43'E, approximately 730 m above mean sea level and 10 km south-southwest of Madaba, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. This large, open sinkhole is a natural faunal trap and raptor roosting site, accumulating significant faunal remains within deposits likely reaching well into the Pleistocene. The Minimum Number of Individuals (MNI) of identified megafauna and microfauna totals 629, with a minimum of 30 taxa represented. Nine actual or potential vectors of faunal introduction were identified, including prey of roosting raptors, natural mortality of sinkhole inhabitants, accidental falling, and deliberate introduction of dead animals by humans. Roosting raptors include barn owl (Tyto alba), the prey remains of which yielded the majority of the species diversity and total MNI. This site offers a unique opportunity to collect data on the on-going function of a prolific faunal trap in a semi-arid Near East environment, and multiple significant taphonomic considerations can be drawn from it for the analysis of both its own deposits and those of similar karst features.

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Taphonomy of Bones from Baboons Killed and Eaten by Wild Leopards in Mapungubwe National Park, South Africa.

Travis Rayne Pickering, Jason L. Heaton, Sarah E. Zwodeski, Kathleen Kuman.


[+info] VOLUME 9. ISSUE 2. 2011 (3 issue)

Taphonomic data are presented for a bone assemblage composed of the remains of seven baboons killed and eaten by wild leopards in Mapungubwe National Park (South Africa). Mortality and sex distributions of the sample meet theoretical expectations of a leopard-produced assemblage and skeletal part patterning, as well as gross patterns of bone modification, match conditions of other leopard-derived faunas composed of small- and medium-size prey, but bone surface damage is much more intensive than previously documented in collections produced by leopards. These data are analyzed comparatively and their paleoanthropological relevance for the interpretation of important fossil primate faunas, such as those from Swartkrans Cave (South Africa), is discussed.

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The Taphonomist´s Corner: Bone surface marks: beyond inferences of carcass consumption?

Travis R. Pickering, Jason L. Heaton, Colin Menter.


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