CARNIVORES

Volumen 6. Number 3-4. Year 2008.

2019-11-06T22:44:22+02:00October 26th, 2019|Volumen 6. Number 3-4. Year 2008.|

VOLUME 6. NUMBER 3 & 4. 2008 [THE TAPHONOMY OF BONE-CRUNCHING CARNIVORES. Special issue edited by Charles P. Egeland.]

THE TAPHONOMY OF BONE-CRUNCHING CARNIVORES. Special issue edited by Charles P. Egeland.

Bone-Crunching Carnivores as Taphonomic Agents: An Introduction to a Special Volume of Journal of Taphonomy.

Charles P. Egeland

Keywords

Download [Restricted Access]

Cetaceans from a Possible Striped Hyaena Den Site in Qatar.

Peter Andrews

Keywords: BONE ASSEMBLAGE, BONE BREAKAGE, PORPOISE PREDATION, SCAVENGING, PUNCTURE MARKS

[+info] VOLUME 6. NUMBERS 3 & 4. 2008 (2 issue)

A small bone assemblage from Qatar is described. The bones were found in a small cave eroded out of marine sediments and the most likely accumulator of the bones was striped hyaena, Hyaena hyaena. Four species of large mammal are represented in the assemblage, striped hyaena, camel, gazelle and the finless porpoise. In addition there were some rodent and bird bones, the origin of which was uncertain. There were 68 identifiable large mammal bones in total, 2 skulls, 6 mandibles, 11 isolated teeth and 23 postcranial elements, together with 26 ear ossicles of the finless porpoise. In addition, 10 indeterminate large mammal bones were collected. The assemblage was identified as a striped hyaena accumulation firstly by the presence of a skull and mandible of this species in the assemblage, and secondly by the nature of the damage and modifications of the bones. The striped hyaena is probably now extinct in Qatar, and one of the bones was dated radiometrically to 580 ± 200 years. This bone showed characteristic signs of desiccation, and it is similar in preservation to the rest of the assemblage. The numbers and sizes of chewing marks are similar to those seen in spotted hyaena assemblages, and particularly when the maximum sizes of marks is taken into account they are distinct from canid chewing marks. The most striking feature of the assemblage is the abundance of finless porpoise skull bones representing at least 13 individuals, and this is taken to indicate that the hyaena was hunting or scavenging along the coast of the Arabian Gulf about 4km from the den site.

Download [Restricted Access]

Taphonomic Analysis of a Modern Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta) Den from Nairobi, Kenya.

Amy G. Egeland, Charles P. Egeland, Henry T. Bunn.

Keywords: TAPHONOMY, SPOTTED HYENA, TOOTH MARKS, BONE BREAKAGE, FAUNAL ANALYSIS, PALEOFAUNA

[+info] VOLUME 6. NUMBERS 3 & 4. 2008 (3 issue)

This paper provides detailed taphonomic data on a modern spotted hyena (Crocuta croctua) den assemblage collected near Nairobi, Kenya. Weathering data, skeletal part abundances, bone surface modifications, and bone fragmentation data indicate that: (1) spotted hyenas (and other agents) accumulated bones at the locality over many years; (2) density-mediated attrition played an important, though not singular, role in structuring skeletal part patterning; (3) a majority of the carcasses acquired by the hyenas were transported incompletely back to the den; (4) the low level of competition characterizing the den resulted in reduced levels of bone destruction that could potentially be tracked in a similar fossil assemblage. Although these data present interesting possibilities for interpreting fossil bone accumulations, many more dens must be analyzed using similar methods in order to fully realize this potential.

Download [Restricted Access]

Taphonomic Analyses of a Hyena Den and a Natural-Death Assemblage Near Lake Eyasi (Tanzania).

Mary E. Prendergast, Manuel Domínguez-Rodrigo.

Keywords: TAPHONOMY, HYENA DEN, NATURAL DEATH, BONE SURFACE MODIFICATIONS, SKELETAL PART PROFILES, EAST AFRICA, CARNIVORES.

[+info] VOLUME 6. NUMBERS 3 & 4. 2008 (4 issue)

Spotted hyena dens are usually characterized by moderate to intense ravaging of bones, high tooth mark rates and the presence of digested bone. This paper presents a taphonomic study of such a den and of a nearby natural-death assemblage. Together these studies widen the known range of variability of taphonomic attributes of assemblages accumulated and/or modified by spotted hyenas. The den, which is the focus of our study, is characterized by a low degree of bone breakage and ravaging, intermediate tooth mark frequencies, a moderate amount of trampled bone and a lack of digested bone. In a comparative discussion, drawing on several published hyena-made assemblages, we highlight several features of hyena accumulations that are quite variable. Such variability should be well-understood when applying actualistic studies to the fossil record.

Download [Restricted Access]

Bone-Crunching Felids at the End of the Pleistocene in Fuego-Patagonia, Chile.

Fabiana M. Martin.

Keywords: FELIDS, MYLODONTINAE, HORSES, FUEGO-PATAGONIA, PLEISTOCENE

[+info] VOLUME 6. NUMBERS 3 & 4. 2008 (5 issue)

The fragmented bone remains of extinct mammals recovered at several late Pleistocene sites in Fuego-Patagonia are analyzed. Indications of human involvement with the bones are not abundant and some of the sites are purely paleontological. However, all of them preserve large carnivore tooth marks. Some of the sites can be explained as accumulations produced by extinct felids.

Download [Restricted Access]

Paleoecological Information in Predator Tooth Marks.

Briana L. Pobiner.

Keywords: TOOTH MARKS, TRACE FOSSIL, PREDATION, SHARK, CROCODILE, DINOSAUR, RODENT, CARNIVORE

 

[+info] VOLUME 6. NUMBERS 3 & 4. 2008 (6 issue)

This paper reviews the evidence for tooth marks made by sharks, crocodiles, dinosaurs, rodents, and especially mammalian carnivores on modern and fossil bones. The ecological and taphonomic information revealed in tooth marks, including: predator identity, prey preferences, and feeding behavior and ecology are discussed, and a compilation of metric measurements of taxon-specific modern and fossil mammalian carnivore tooth marks from the published literature is also provided. Some recommendations intended to improve the scope and scale of future tooth-damage research are also presented.

Download [Restricted Access]

Reanalysis and Reinterpretation of the Kalkbank Faunal Accumulation, Limpopo Province, South Africa.

Jarod M. Hutson, Chester R. Cain.

Keywords: KALKBANK, TAPHONOMY, CARNIVORES, PREDATION HOT SPOT

[+info] VOLUME 6. NUMBERS 3 & 4. 2008 (7 issue)

Previous accounts of the late Pleistocene Kalkbank faunal accumulation cited humans as the primary agent of accumulation. Here we present the first in-depth taphonomic analysis of the fauna. Revised interpretation based on surface modification and bone breakage patterns reflect an overwhelming carnivore presence at the site. The only indications of human involvement with the fauna were a few stone tools and three possible hammerstone percussion marks. Porcupine involvement with the assemblage was considerable, but appears to be secondary to carnivore predation. The site likely represents a serial predation site where carnivores regularly ambushed prey near the margins of an ancient pan. Published accounts of fossil predation hot spots are rare, and much of the available data on these sites originate from modern landscape studies. Evidence from the Kalkbank accumulation suggests that patterns seen at fossil predation hot spots may not conform to patterns observed in modern accumulations.

Download [Restricted Access]

The Taphonomist´s Corner: An Unexpected Encounter with a Bone Cruncher.

Amy G. Egeland, Charles P. Egeland.

Keywords

Download [Restricted Access]

Volumen 7. Number 2-3. Year 2009.

2019-11-06T22:46:10+02:00October 26th, 2019|Volumen 7. Number 2-3. Year 2009.|

VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2-3. 2009 [TAPHOS'08]

TAPHOS’08: an Introduction to a Special Volume of Journal of Taphonomy.

Julio Aguirre

Keywords

Download [Restricted Access]

Charcoal Taphonomy: The Study of the Cell Structure and Surface Deformations of Pinus sylvestris type for the Understanding of Formation Processes of Archaeological Charcoal Assemblages.

Ethel Allué, Itxaso Euba, Alex Solé.

Keywords: CHARCOAL TAPHONOMY, PINUS SYLVESTRIS, NE IBERIAN PENINSULA, WOOD DECAY, COMBUSTION, POST-DEPOSITIONAL PROCESSES, FIREWOOD MANAGEMENT

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2&3. 2009 (2 issue)

In this work we present the anthracological and taphonomical study of charcoal assemblages. The charcoal assemblages come from archaeological sites at the NE Iberian Peninsula and include Palaeolithic and historical sites. All these assemblages share the same records, being Pinus sylvestris type the most significant taxa, which has permitted to classify some of the alterations produced on the cell structure. The analysis of P. sylvestris type wood cell structure from a taphonomic point of view has permitted to classify the modifications and their origin. The processes under which charcoal assemblages are affected are wood decay, combustion and post-depositional processes. The analysis of these charcoals has contributed to the understanding of the formation processes of the assemblages. In this sense, the archaeological context and the study of the alteration origin has permitted to observe wood qualities used for firewood and constructive structures. Moreover it permits to understand combustion processes related to fire structures (simple fire structures, kilns, furnaces) and constructive structures.

Download [Restricted Access]

Age of Death and Seasonality Based on Ungulate Tooth Remains from the Upper Pleistocene Site of Valdegoba (Burgos, Spain).

Diego Arceredillo Alonso, Carlos Díez Fernández-Lomana.

Keywords: AGE OF DEATH, DENTAL ERUPTION, WEAR, SEASONALITY, UNGULATES, VALDEGOBA CAVE

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2&3. 2009 (3 issue)

The small Valdegoba cave has yielded many fossils remains since the first excavations in 1987. Homo neanderthalensis is the most characteristic species in this large assemblage of carnivore, herbivore, microfauna and avifauna fossils. Ungulates are the predominant group, with greater abundance of dental remains than postcraneal bones. A study comparing dental eruption patterns with stages of dental wear in each species shows that age of death can also be determined. The analysis shows that both immatures and young adults are predominant. Cervus elaphus shows a clearly seasonal mortality pattern. On the other hand, Rupicapra rupicapra and Capra pyrenaica shows an annual distribution. This could indicate that C. elaphus accumulation could be anthropic, whereas a variety of agents could be involved in the case of chamois and goat.

Download [Restricted Access]

Skin and Bones: Taphonomy of a Medieval Tannery in Hungary.

László Bartosiewicz.

Keywords: ARCHAEOZOOLOGY, BODY PART DISTRIBUTION, BONE WEIGHT, SKINNING, TANNING, “SCHLEPP EFFECT”, LATE MIDDLE AGES, HUNGARY

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2&3. 2009 (4 issue)

Taphonomy in medieval archaeology is far more than the post mortem history of animal remains. In addition to material evidence, parallel data are also available in the form of documentary as well as iconographic sources. However, similarly to animal bones, such data are also prone to selective taphonomic processes. This paper is a taphonomic analysis of animal remains from an excavation with both written records and lacunae in the written records in order to reconstruct the existence of a special craft, tanning. Excavations near Baj in Central Hungary revealed the remains of a small, 15th-16th century manorial settlement at the site of Öreg-Kovács-hegy. The 3,174 (146.8 kg) identifiable animal bones were dominated by cattle remains (NISP=1,969; 105.4 kg), while red deer was also well-represented (NISP=257; 16.2 kg). Even horse bones were relatively numerous (NISP=77; 10.6 kg). The anatomical composition, pattern of butchery, and spatial distribution of bones indicated that many of them were not ordinary food remains but probably tannery refuse. Although this activity was not mentioned in written records, archaeozoological observations complement the discovery of circular features at the site, interpreted as lime pits. Tanning was chosen as a paradigmatic activity that leaves both specific archaeological and archaeozoological markers. In addition to establishing diagnostic osteological criteria indicative of tanning, the selective survival and reliability of the different types of evidence (written, iconographic, architectural) are also indirectly compared.

Download [Restricted Access]

Toothmarks on Micromammal Remains from Level TE9 of Sima del Elefante (Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos, Spain).

Mª de Lluc Bennàsar, Isabel Cáceres, Gloria Cuenca-Bescós, Juan Rofes.

Keywords: SIMA DEL ELEFANTE, ATAPUERCA, TOOTHMARKS, TALPA CF. T. EUROPAEA, MUSTELA PALERMINEA, MUSTELA NIVALIS, BEREMENDIA FISSIDENS

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2&3. 2009 (5 issue)

Small toothmarks on Talpa cf. T. europaea humerus have been identified during the taphonomical study of the micromammal remains found in Sima del Elefante site (Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos). Toothmarks have been compared to Mustela nivalis modern molars and to Mustela palerminea and Beremendia fissidens fossil remains in order to identify the predator producing the marks. The results indicate that marks were produced by a smaller predator than Mustela, and resemble more to those produced by B. fissidens. This insectivorous species is smaller than Talpa and has a poison injector apparatus that allows it to hunt preys which double its own size. Ethological characteristics of predators and B. fissidens physical features seem to point to this insectivore as the agent responsible for the Talpa humerus toothmarks at Sima del Elefante TE9 level.

Download [Restricted Access]

The Paradox of Barren Ancient Rocky Shores in the Western Mediterranean.

Juan C. Braga, Antonio Checa, Julio Aguirre.

Keywords: CORALLINALES (RHODOPHYTA), ROCKY SHORES, ALGAL COVERING, NEOGENE, RECENT

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2&3. 2009 (6 issue)

Encrusting coralline red algae cover significant proportions of the surface of rocky walls, blocks, and boulders in the mid- and infralittoral zones in present-day temperate seas. Despite the common occurrence of their living counterparts, examples of fossil coralline plants attached to rock surfaces in ancient temperate shores are very scarce and can be considered cases of exceptional preservation. In the Mediterranean region, however, the most frequent encrusting species have existed at least since the Miocene; they comprise heavily calcified plants which, a priori, should have a high preservation potential. In fact, fossil representatives of these species are relatively common as components of rhodoliths (algal nodules) and bioclastic deposits. In addition, palaeocliffs and ancient rocky shores are widespread in Neogene and Quaternary basins around the Mediterranean Sea. The key feature explaining the low preservation potential of encrusting corallines as in-situ growths, based on observation of algae on submarine rock surfaces in the Cabo de Gata area in SE Spain, seems to be the adhesion mechanism. The organic adhesion substance decays after death, and the plant is then removed by grazers or simply falls to the bottom. No abiotic or biologically induced cementation prevents detachment of a dead plant and there is no accretion of the coralline cover on the rock surface. The plant debris is incorporated into the sediment around the rocky substrate and the algal fragments undergo later taphonomic processes asloose bioclasts.

Download [Restricted Access]

Disarticulation and Dispersal Processes of Cervid Carcass at the Bosque de Riofrío (Segovia, Spain).

Isabel Cáceres, Montserrat Esteban-Nadal, Mª de Lluc Bennàsar, Yolanda Fernández-Jalvo.

Keywords: DISARTICULATION, DISPERSAL, VULPES VULPES, CERVUS ELAPHUS, TOOTHMARKS, BOSQUE DE RIOFRÍO, SPAIN

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2&3. 2009 (7 issue)

The Bosque de Riofrio, a natural forest and reserve in Spain (Segovia), has a wide population of red deer and fallow deer. The park, open to the public during the day light, has an extensive area restricted to the staff that take care of these wild animals in wild conditions. Carcasses derived from natural deaths are recorded by the park rangers, as population control, but left exposed to natural conditions and preserved by them from human entries. Since 2000 we are carrying out a project on dispersal and disarticulation of carcasses. Red fox and vultures also inhabit the reserve and scavenge these carcasses. We are here referring in this paper to a particular specimen (RF8), an adult male red deer, exposed along a period of 2 and half years, and monitored by us. During the first stages, the foxes acceded to RF8 producing toothmarks and contributing to the disarticulation and dispersal of carcass. In the last stages, the toothmarks identifies were produced by herbivores.

Download [Restricted Access]

“I Hunt Chickens, Men Hunt Me.” The Biostratinomy of a Shot Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes L.) – A Case Study.

Erika Gál

Keywords: VERTEBRATE TAPHONOMY, RED FOX, TEMPERATE CLIMATE, FOREST ENVIRONMENT

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2&3. 2009 (8 issue)

In this paper the author presents the decay process of a shot red fox that decomposed in a temperate forest environment during 2004. Close-up pictures taken regularly are compared with meteorological data concerning temperature and precipitation during the period of investigation. Since neither human- or other vertebrate disturbance, nor water transport or considerable wind affected the body, its complete decay in naturally sheltered conditions (light undergrowth in a wooded area) took about seven month. Due to the unusually warm and humid weeks at the end of the winter and early spring in 2004, however, autolysis, microbial decay and invertebrate scavenging resulted in the complete decomposition of soft tissues in three months. Since red fox is a facultative commensal animal with burrowing habits, its remains are difficult to interpret in archaeological deposits. Such actualistic observations and experiments may help understanding the origin and role of fox remains found at and around ancient human settlements.

Download [Restricted Access]

Mineralogical, Elemental and Chemical Composition of Dinosaur Bones from Teruel (Spain).

Luis Luque, Luis Alcalá, Luis Mampel, Mª Dolores Pesquero, Rafael Royo-Torres, Alberto Cobos, Eduardo Espílez, Ana González, Daniel Ayala.

Keywords: BONE, DIAGENESIS, AUTHIGENIC MINERAL, DINOSAUR, ARAGÓN

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2&3. 2009 (9 issue)

A detailed study has been carried out on 25 samples of dinosaur bone fragments which come from 8 sites belonging to six stratigraphic units that span from the Tithonian (Upper Jurassic) to Albian (Lower Cretaceous) in the province of Teruel, Spain. The aim of the study is to further understand the mineralogical, elemental and chemical composition of the bones which come from different depositional environments and try to determine the processes which created this composition starting from the initial biogenic phosphate. A diversity of chemical compositions within the same sedimentary environment, within the same site and even within the same fossil is documented. This supports the idea that fossilization and postmortem diagenesis is not a homogeneous process. The compositions of bones varied widely in their proportions of francolite, dahllite and hydroxyapatite phosphates. The most common cement is calcite but the presence of unidentified iron oxides is also very frequent. Haematite or barite cements are found more rarely. The association between the authigenic minerals kaolinite and palygorskite provides information about the geochemical processes occurring in the microenvironment of fossilization, and the presence of iron oxides, pyrite or barite is informative of microbial activity. Furthermore, different sources for fossils from a same site can potentially be differentiated. In sum, a direct relationship between the mineralogy of the bone and cement composition and the sedimentary environment cannot be inferred.

Download [Restricted Access]

Butchery, Cooking and Human Consumption Marks on Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) Bones: An Experimental Study.

Lluís Lloveras, Marta Moreno-García, Jordi Nadal.

Keywords: TAPHONOMY, ACTUALISTIC STUDY, RABBIT REMAINS, BUTCHERY, CUT MARKS, HUMAN CONSUMPTION, BURNT BONES

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2&3. 2009 (10 issue)

An experimental study was conducted to assess the taphonomic signature derived from anthropic activities on rabbit bones. Nine wild European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) individuals were butchered using lithic tools, four were cooked and three of them were consumed by people. Cut marks resulting from skinning, disarticulation and defleshing as well as cooking damage and tooth marks caused by consumption were analysed and evaluated. Results show that butchery marks can be relatively abundant. Their location, intensity and orientation may differ according to the activity that caused them: skinning, disarticulation or defleshing of the carcass. Cooking damage is evidenced by specific burnt areas on the extremities of the bones. Tooth marks are scarce and often difficult to detect. They occur especially on long bones, with tooth pits being the most abundant type of damage. Finally, we attempt to address the way in which these marks can be archaeologically identified.

Download [Restricted Access]

Taphonomic Study of the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic Large Mammal Assemblage from Tournal Cave (Bize-Minervois, France).

Pierre Magniez

Keywords: MIDDLE PALAEOLITHIC, LATE PALAEOLITHIC, TAPHONOMY, TOURNAL CAVE,UNGULATES, CARNIVORES, SHORT/LONG-TERM OCCUPATIONS

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2&3. 2009 (11 issue)

The Tournal Cave (southern France) presents an important Late Pleistocene stratigraphic record of human occupations dated to the Late-Middle (Mousterian culture) and Upper Palaeolithic (Aurignacian and Magdalenian cultures). This study intends to give a taphonomic overview of the large ungulate bone assemblages. Around 12,500 large mammal remains have been studied. Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) and horse (Equus caballus) were the primary prey taxa. In general terms, the faunal assemblage reveals a low degree of "weathering" and a wide variation of carnivore and hominid modifications in the different layers. Mousterian and Aurignacian units suggest multiple short-term human occupations that occurred at various seasons throughout the year alternating with carnivores. According to prey body part representation and mark frequencies, carnivores sometimes gained primary access to bones while denning, and secondarily accessed discarded bones after hominids left the site. Analysis of the Magdalenian unit indicates a broad range of activities including butchering that took place at the site. Nearly complete carcasses were transported from the kill site and processed for meat and marrow. Seasonality studies suggest that occupations took place in winter to early spring.

Download [Restricted Access]

Taphonomy of the Accumulations Produced by Caracara plancus (Falconidae). Analysis of Prey Remains and Pellets.

Claudia I. Montalvo, Pedro O. Tallade.

Keywords: TAPHONOMY, PELLETS, PREY REMAIN SELECTION, CARACARA PLANCUS, ARGENTINA HOT SPOT

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2&3. 2009 (12 issue)

Caracara plancus (Falconidae) is a diurnal raptor bird, described as an opportunist that feeds on carrion and a variety of live preys, including rodents. Based on the skeletal remains of rodents recovered from pellets produced by this bird, an analysis of the modifications occurred on those bones was carried out, concluding that they were important. Along with pellets, scattered rodents prey remains not digested, collected in the same sampling area, under the roosting, were analyzed. The comparison of the data from pellets and that from uneaten prey remains indicates that southern caracara would perform a certain selection over different body parts of predated rodents, discarding mainly the cranial regions. The ingested osseous remains, showing evidence of breakage and digestion, could accumulate together with the skeletal elements that, which constitute the remains of prey, with particular signs of breakage but without signs of digestion. These findings are particularly relevant in order to avoid missininterpretations of this kind of accumulations, which are not mixtures produced by several predators but only one predator with a particular pattern of ingestion. Consequently, when zooarchaeological or paleontological records from the Pampean region are analyzed, it is very important to consider the fact that these birds of prey could have contributed to the accumulation of micromammal bones, with skeletal elements coming both from pellets and prey remains.

Download [Restricted Access]

Plant Taphonomy from the Mississippian Flysch Facies of the El Priorat Massif (Catalonia, Spain).

Sheila Villalba-Breva, Carles Martín-Closas.

Keywords: SPHENOPSIDA, ARCHAEOCALAMITACEAE, LOWER CARBONIFEROUS, FLYSCH, PRIORAT, EUROPE, TAPHONOMY

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 2&3. 2009 (13 issue)

Calamitaleans belonging to Archaeocalamites cf. radiatus and Mesocalamites cf. ramifer were found in flysch deposits of the Middle-Upper Visean of La Vilella Baixa (Priorat Massif, Catalonia, Spain). This is the first time a Mississippian flora from the Catalan Coastal Chain and NE Spain is described. The calamitalean assemblage contains only stems (either adpressions or pith casts) without other calamitalean organs. Putative pteridosperm remains associated with them include Carpolithus-type seeds. Unidentified woody axes might belong to pteridosperms or ferns. The assemblage was deposited by turbiditic flows on slope-apron facies of the Carboniferous basin. Taphonomic features suggest that the plant remains underwent severe transport selection before final deposition. Three taphofacies recognized indicate that under different hydrodynamic conditions of deposition, the assemblage only varies in small taphonomic features, with no significant change in composition. This suggests that the supply of plant remains to the slope-apron area consisted mainly of calamitalean stems, rare pteridosperm seeds and unidentified woody branches, though the original composition of the plant community was probably much more diverse. Comparison with another Mississippian flora from the Hercynian Flysch of Southern Europe (Cabrières, France) suggests that both assemblages may have been taxonomically similar in origin but differed after taphonomic selection.

Download [Restricted Access]

The Taphonomist´s Corner: BIOLOGICAL CONCENTRATIONS OF AMUSIUM CRISTATUM.

Julio Aguirre

Keywords

Download [Restricted Access]

Volumen 7. Number 4. Year 2009.

2019-11-06T22:47:15+02:00October 26th, 2019|Volumen 7. Number 4. Year 2009.|

VOLUME 7. NUMBER 4. 2009

Decomposition and Disarticulation of Kangaroo Carcasses in Caves at Naracoorte, South Australia.

Elizabeth Reed

Keywords: TAPHONOMY, DECOMPOSITION, DISARTICULATION, CAVES, NARACOORTE

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 4. 2009 (1 issue)

This paper presents the results of a study of decomposition and disarticulation of kangaroo carcasses in caves at Naracoorte, South Australia. Carcasses were placed in two caves and observed over a period of nearly three years. Decomposition progressed rapidly within the caves with almost immediate infestation by blowflies and fungi. Invertebrate activity had ceased by 28 months; however, fungal colonisation continued for the course of the study period. Decomposition, skeletonisation and disarticulation were complete by 600 days. The results suggest that temperature and humidity play an important role in decomposition as this directly affects the activity of invertebrate and fungal decomposers. The position of the carcass within the cave influences the degree of dispersal of remains in pitfall caves. Disarticulation sequences for the experimental carcasses compare with those for kangaroo skeletons on the land surface in semi-arid South Australia, suggesting that regardless of environment, anatomy is a key factor in determining disarticulation sequence. The results of this study have applications for the assessment of stratigraphic integrity and reworking of fossil deposits in caves at Naracoorte and elsewhere.

Download [Restricted Access]

Experimental Artifact Transport by Harvester Ants (Pogonomyrmex sp.): Implications for Patterns in the Archaeological Record.

Benjamin J. Schoville, Lucy E. Burris, Lawrence C. Todd.

Keywords: HARVESTER ANTS, FORMATION PROCESSES, SURVEYING, BIOTURBATION

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 4. 2009 (2 issue)

On the High Plains of North America the harvester ants Pogonomyrmex occidentalis and P. owyheei build large gravel covered nest mounds in which artifacts and small fossils are frequently deposited. The effect this mound building behavior has on the archaeological record has received little attention and has generally been viewed as restricted to subsurface tunneling disturbances. Initial experiments highlight the surface foraging behavior of harvester ants actively transporting artifacts during mound construction and maintenance. Non-food related foraging behavior was investigated by placing glass beads around ant mounds in various patterns to evaluate foraging distance, direction, density and distribution effects. Ants were observed to forage a maximum of 48 m from the nest but the majority of foraged materials were returned from within 20 m, regardless of density, direction, or distribution differences. Of 812 individual mounds recorded during an extensive landscape survey, 134 contained anthropogenic debris. Additionally, mounds tend to form near disturbed and eroding soils which enhance the opportunity for ants to acquire actively exposed artifacts during foraging for mound construction material. These characteristics of harvester ant foraging effectively create highly visible loci of small artifact concentrations that are otherwise poorly represented by traditional pedestrian surveys. Understanding the taphonomic signature of harvester ant artifact transport should aid in refining interpretations of artifact patterning observed in archaeological contexts.

Download [Restricted Access]

Home Sharing: Carnivores in Anthropogenic Assemblages of the Middle Pleistocene.

Jordi Rosell, Ruth Blasco.

Keywords: MIDDLE PLEISTOCENE, IBERIAN PENINSULA, CARNIVORES, GRAN DOLINA, BOLOMOR CAVE

[+info] VOLUME 7. NUMBERS 4. 2009 (3 issue)

The Middle Pleistocene is a period with a great variability of carnivores. Different species of big cats, hyaenids, bears and canids are common in faunal lists of anthropogenic assemblages. This phenomenon raised a discussion about the relationships between carnivores and hominids. This paper aims to provide data to understand the presence of carnivore remains or the elements generated by them in Middle Pleistocene anthropogenic assemblages. We analyze two Spanish sites for this specific work: TD10-sup of Gran Dolina (Sierra de Atapuerca, Burgos) and Level XII of the Bolomor Cave (Valencia, Spain). The origin of both accumulations is due to the predatory activities of humans and carnivores´ incidence is very low. The main objective of this study is to determine the role of predators in these accumulations and to evaluate their relationship with human communities. The anatomical representation of carcases, the age of death of animals, the identification of anthropogenic marks and tooth marks, and the morphology of the latter suggest the existence of marauding small scavengers. These animals visited the cavities once abandoned by hominids. From this perspective, we think that there are not direct relationships in the form of interaction between both biological entities.

Download [Restricted Access]

The Taphonomist´s Corner: Ants as taphonomic agents.

Benjamin J. Schoville, Paul Burnett, Lucy E. Burris, Lawrence C. Todd.

Keywords

Download [Restricted Access]

Volumen 8. Number 2-3. Year 2010.

2019-11-06T22:52:33+02:00October 26th, 2019|Volumen 8. Number 2-3. Year 2010.|

VOLUME 8. NUMBER 2-3. 2010 [Paleoanthropological Taphonomy in Southern Africa Travis Rayne Pickering & Amy Egeland (eds.)]

Introduction to the special issue: Paleoanthropological Taphonomy in Southern Africa.

Travis Rayne Pickering, Amy Egeland.

Keywords

Download [Restricted Access]

Taphonomy of the Gondolin GD 2 in situ Deposits and its Bearing on Interpretations of South African Plio-Pleistocene Karstic Fossil Assemblages.

Justin W. Adams

Keywords: HOMININ TAPHONOMY, CARNIVORES, PALEONTOLOGY, CAVE SITE

[+info] VOLUME 8. NUMBERS 2&3. 2010 (2 issue)

The GD 2 fossil assemblage was excavated from a densely fossiliferous, calcified in situ hanging remnant adhering to the northwestern corner of the Gondolin cave system in 1979. At present, this sample is the only sizeable (n=95,549) Plio-Pleistocene (~1.8 million years ago) South African karstic-derived faunal assemblage sampled solely from calcified in situ sediments with minimal recovery phase temporal or spatial aggregation. Prior description of the assemblage only briefly addressed the taphonomy of the deposits; this paper presents the first comprehensive taphonomic analysis of the total macromammalian assemblage. The demographic composition and element preservation of the small mammal remains are consistent with autochthonous accumulation through use of the deposition area as habitat. The distribution of large mammal individuals across taxonomic and body size categories, representation of elements, and preserved element modifications are most consistent with allochthonous accumulation by a leopard-like carnivore with only a minor porcupine contribution. Carcasses appear to have been accumulated both relatively whole and directly into the depositional area, likely through use of the GD 2 region as a feeding retreat. Only minimal hydrological or other postdepositional resorting took place prior to excavation, although significant comminution of the assemblage likely occurred during the recovery phase processing of the calcified matrix. Integration of the results with recent interpretations of the Gondolin karstic system and primate-bearing Plio-Pleistocene South African assemblages highlight the fundamentally idiosyncratic nature of individual taphonomic measures and processes that mediated the composition of the macromammalian fossil records in karstic deposits, even those with similar primary accumulative agents or from spatially proximate portions of the same cave system.

Download [Restricted Access]

Using Strontium Isotopes to Study Site Accumulation Processes.

Sandi R. Copeland, Matt Sponheimer, Julia A. Lee-Thorp, Darryl J. de Ruiter, Petrus J. le Roux, Vaughan Grimes, Daryl Codron, Lee R. Berger, Michael P. Richards.

Keywords: STRONTIUM ISOTOPES, CAVE FILL, TAPHONOMY, FOSSIL RODENTS, STERKFONTEIN, SWARTKRANS, GLADYSVALE

[+info] VOLUME 8. NUMBERS 2&3. 2010 (3 issue)

Strontium isotopes (87Sr/86Sr) in tooth enamel reflect the geological substrate on which an animal lived during tooth development. Therefore, strontium isotopes of teeth in fossil cave accumulations are potentially useful in determining whether an animal was native to the vicinity of the site or was brought in by other agents such as predators from farther afield. In this study, we tested the ability of strontium isotopes to help determine the origins of fossil rodents in Gladysvale Cave, South Africa. First, biologically available 87Sr/86Sr ratios were established using modern plants recovered from three geologically distinct areas, the Malmani dolomite, the Hekpoort andesite/basalt, and the Timeball Hill shale, all of which were found to be significantly different. Strontium isotope values were then measured on tooth enamel of rodents from a modern barn owl (Tyto alba) roost in Gladysvale Cave. The results clearly distinguished modern owl roost rodents that came from local dolomite (67%) versus those from other geological zones. We then measured strontium isotope values of enamel from 14 fossil rodent teeth from Gladysvale Cave. The average and range of values for the fossil rodents is similar to that of the modern owl roost rodents. Fifty-seven percent of the fossil rodents probably derived from the local dolomite, while others were brought in from at least 0.8 km away. A pilot study of 87Sr/86Sr ratios of fossil rodent teeth from Swartkrans Member 1 and Sterkfontein Member 4 indicates that 81% and 55% of those rodents, respectively, are from the local dolomite substrate. Overall, this study shows that strontium isotopes can be a useful tool in taphonomic analyses by identifying non-local individuals, and has great potential for elucidating more of the taphonomic history of fossil accumulations in the dolomitic cave sites of South Africa.

Download [Restricted Access]

Investigating the Role of Eagles as Accumulating Agents in the Dolomitic Cave Infills of South Africa.

Darryl J. de Ruiter, Sandi R. Copeland, Julia Lee-Thorp, Matt Sponheimer.

Keywords: TAPHONOMY, EAGLE PREDATION, PROCAVIID, CERCOPITHECID, TAUNG CHILD, STRONTIUM ISOTOPES, ACCUMULATING AGENT

[+info] VOLUME 8. NUMBERS 2&3. 2010 (4 issue)

The potential importance of large raptors as accumulators of early hominins was highlighted by the suggestion that the Taung Child was killed and deposited by an eagle (Berger & Clarke [1995] Journal of Human Evolution, 29: 275-299), and it has been hypothesized that eagles might have had a significant impact on the evolution of predator avoidance behaviors in early hominins (Berger & McGraw [2007] South African Journal of Science, 103: 496-498). In this study, we compare skeletal part representation of procaviid and cercopithecid fossils from the dolomitic cave infills of South Africa to a series of modern eagle-derived bone accumulations. We supplement skeletal part analysis with data on strontium isotope ratios (87Sr/86Sr) in the Bloubank Valley that allow us to source fossils to particular geological substrates. Of the fourteen discrete faunal assemblages examined, nine were inconsistent with eagles as accumulators of procaviids or cercopithecids, while five revealed possible, though not definitive, evidence of eagle involvement. A lack of support for eagles as collectors of the smaller mammals that make up their typical prey weakens the hypothesis that eagles represented a significant threat to the larger, presumably more difficult to capture, juvenile hominins. The majority of the animals sampled for 87Sr/86Sr ratios at Swartkrans were consistent with being derived from local dolomites, including four Papio specimens, while we documented a non-local origin for a single procaviid and a single bovid from the Hanging Remnant of Member 1. In contrast, all of the procaviid specimens and a single bovid specimen from Sterkfontein Member 4 exhibited nonlocal strontium signals. Turning to the Taung Child, at present a clear link between it and the original Taung faunal assemblage examined by Raymond Dart cannot be established. In addition, preparation damage cannot be ruled out as the source of several marks on the Taung skull that have been putatively assigned to eagle talon damage. As a result, the hypothesized influence of large raptors such as eagles on the evolution of predator avoidance strategies in early hominins remains intriguing but unsubstantiated.

Download [Restricted Access]

A Multivariate Approach for Discriminating Bone Accumulations Created by Spotted Hyenas and Leopards: Harnessing Actualistic Data from East and Southern Africa.

Manuel Domínguez-Rodrigo, Travis Rayne Pickering.

Keywords: SKELETAL PART PROFILES, BONE SURFACE MODIFICATIONS, CARNIVORE TOOTH MARKS, PREY MORTALITY PROFILES, MULTIVARIATE APPROACH

[+info] VOLUME 8. NUMBERS 2&3. 2010 (5 issue)

Hyenas and large felids were important contributors of bones to the Pliocene and Pleistocene paleontological record of South Africa and elsewhere. Thus, discerning the taphonomic signatures of each is of great importance to paleoanthropologists who view those carnivores as predators and/or competitors of early hominins. Several neotaphonomic studies have emphasized characteristics that distinguish faunas created by hyenas and large cats. Recognizing that many of these studies contend or imply independence in variables that are actually interdependent, we conducted multivariate analyses on published data (including prey skeletal part profiles, tooth mark frequencies, anatomical patterning of tooth marks on bones, number of tooth marks per specimen [as a measure of gnawing], ungulate long limb bone [i.e., humeri, radioulnae, femora, tibiae and metapodials]) completeness and bone breakage) to demonstrate that bone accumulating behavior is quite variable for both hyenas and felids. Our results reveal that previously employed analogs are incomplete and transitory, and stress the need for more actualistic work on the topic. That work should lead to more fully realized referential analogs, replacing earlier, inferentially weak ones and providing powerful tools for archaeologists and paleontologists to use in interpreting the formation of fossil faunas. We end our recommendations with tentative endorsement of prey mortality analysis-mediated by application of actualistically derived and taphonomically sensitized prey age frequency data - as an additional method for distinguishing hyena- and leopard-accumulated faunas.

Download [Restricted Access]

Taphonomic Fieldwork in Southern Africa and its Application in Studies of the Earliest Peopling of North America.

Gary Haynes, Kathryn E. Krasinski.

Keywords: PRE-CLOVIS, ELEPHANT BONE-FLAKING, CUTMARKS, REPLICATIVE EXPERIMENTS, ACTUALISM

[+info] VOLUME 8. NUMBERS 2&3. 2010 (6 issue)

Cutmarked and broken mammoth bones figure prominently in assertions that Homo sapiens dispersed into North America before the appearance of Clovis archeological culture, which is dated about 13 ka. Beside pre-dating Clovis, the bonesites differ from Clovis in that most lack lithic tools. Taphonomic studies, experimental replications, and arguments of plausibility have not perfectly supported or wholly disproved the assertions that the bonesites were created by human actions. Taphonomic and actualistic research in southern Africa reveals a wide range of noncultural and human-generated patterns in breaks, flakes, and cutmarks on modern elephant bones. These studies suggest that many (if not all) of the early modified mammoth remains do not indicate a pre-Clovis human presence.

Download [Restricted Access]

Taphonomic Processes of Bone Distribution and Deposition in the Tufa Caves of Taung, South Africa.

Jeffrey K. McKee.

Keywords: TAUNG, KARST TAPHONOMY, TUFA CAVES

[+info] VOLUME 8. NUMBERS 2&3. 2010 (7 issue)

The tufa caves at Taung create a somewhat unique depositional environment for the bones that are brought in by various taphonomic agents. The Taung hominin skull, type specimen of Australopithecus africanus, and associated fossil fauna must be interpreted within the particular context of such tufa caves. Taphonomic experiments with three animals were conducted to elucidate the nature of bone distribution and deposition in a cave that is similar in nature to those in which Pliocene fossils were deposited. It was found that dry portions of the cave tend to preserve a higher proportion of the skeletal remains, and that the distribution of bones is relatively restricted. Skeletal representation of this nature parallels that found in the densely fossiliferous Hrdlika Deposits at Taung. This contrasts with the wet portion of the cave in which water activity tends to spread bones over a wider area and results in lesser skeletal representation. It may be postulated that fossils of the Taung Dart Deposits, perhaps including the Taung hominin, could have been deposited as water-borne carcasses. This taphonomic process would account for the singularity of the Australopithecus fossil and the sparseness of fossils in the Dart Deposits. Another important conclusion is that, as both dry and wet depositional processes can occur simultaneously in a single cave, sediments are not necessarily reflective of changes in conditions outside of the cave. Therefore, paleoecological interpretations of the Taung fossil sites must take into account the taphonomic agents and immediate conditions of deposition.

Download [Restricted Access]

What Taphonomically Oriented Research at Swartkrans Cave Reveals about Early Hominid Behavior.

Travis Rayne Pickering, C. K. Brain.

Keywords: MEAT-EATING, EXTRACTIVE FORAGING, HOMINID-CARNIVORE INTERACTION

[+info] VOLUME 8. NUMBERS 2&3. 2010 (8 issue)

The paleoanthropological significance of Swartkrans Cave (South Africa) is as much for the inferences of early Pleistocene hominid behavior it provides as for its large samples of Australopithecus robustus and Homo erectus fossils. Most of those behavioral inferences emanate from the taphonomic studies one of us (CKB) conducted in concert with his 1965-1986 excavations at Swartkrans. After a fieldwork hiatus of 19 years, we are building on that seminal work, with the establishment of the Swartkrans Paleoanthropological Research Project (SPRP), a new round of excavations and laboratory studies at the site. The SPRP has a wide range of goals, including: obtainment of (uranium) U-series dates for speleothems distributed throughout the Swartkrans Formation; more accurate characterization of the technology and function of the site's stone and bone tools; further detailed analyses of the behaviorally informative zooarchaeological assemblages from the cave; continued investigation of burned bones, which might indicate hominid-controlled fire in the early Pleistocene. We review the entirety of this collective work, emphasizing its broader paleoanthropological significance.

Download [Restricted Access]

Where the Wild Things Were: Spatial and Temporal Distribution of Carnivores in the Cradle of Humankind (Gauteng, South Africa) in Relation to the Accumulation of Mammalian and Hominin Assemblages.

Sally C. Reynolds

Keywords: LARGE CARNIVORES; STERKFONTEIN; SWARTKRANS, SPATIAL PATTERNS, TEMPORAL CHANGES; EXTINCTIONS

[+info] VOLUME 8. NUMBERS 2&3. 2010 (9 issue)

This paper examines the temporal and spatial distribution patterns of carnivore species in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site, South Africa. These taxa are inferred to have played an active role in the accumulation of the mammalian faunas, including hominins. There are distinct temporal changes in the predominating large carnivores at sites across the Sterkfontein Valley and beyond, although certain assemblages from the Cradle sites show evidence of time-averaging. By the mid-to late Pleistocene, the structure of the carnivore community was altered by the extinction of the three machairodont genera (Dinofelis, Homotherium and Megantereon), the giant hyaena, Pachycrocuta and the hunting hyaena genus Chasmaporthetes. The younger assemblages from Sterkfontein and Swartkrans show increasing proportions of smaller canids and felids. Extant carnivore species show a distinctive prey accumulation bias, depending on the body size and sociality of the species concerned. Social species such as the lion (Panthera leo), spotted hyaena (Crocuta crocuta) and black-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas) are common in the Cradle deposits, both in time and space, and so were probably resident species in this region. Although present at certain sites, the relative scarcity of cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) and giant short-faced hyaena (Pachycrocuta brevirostris) indicate that these taxa are unlikely to have been permanently resident within the catchment areas of the sites. Certain taxa such as the leopard (Panthera pardus), are present at low levels at the majority of sites, and remain active in the Cradle of Humankind to the present day. These distribution patterns yield insights into the likely contributors to the fossil assemblages of this important region.

Download [Restricted Access]

Exotic Minerals or Ostrich Gastroliths? An Alternative Explanation for Some Early Evidence of Hominin Non-Utilitarian Behavior at Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa.

Christian Tryon

Keywords: MIDDLE PLEISTOCENE, SYMBOLIC BEHAVIOR, OSTRICH, GASTROLITH

[+info] VOLUME 8. NUMBERS 2&3. 2010 (10 issue)

Identifying the onset of symbolic or non-utilitarian behavior remains one of the most important issues in the modern human origins debate, and as such, early evidence requires careful scrutiny. 'Exotic minerals' dating to >350 ka are one of several possible indications of hominin non-utilitarian behavior from Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa. Ecological data suggest an alternate hypothesis that these 'exotic minerals' are ostrich gastroliths accidentally introduced into the cave rather than the result of hominin collection and transport.

Download [Restricted Access]

A Taphonomic Study of Ochre Demonstrates Post-depositional Color Transformations.

Lyn Wadley

Keywords: OCHRE, EXPERIMENTAL FIRES, POST-DEPOSITIONAL COLOR CHANGE

[+info] VOLUME 8. NUMBERS 2&3. 2010 (11 issue)

The predominance of red ochre over other colors in Middle Stone Age deposits has led archaeologists to suggest that this color was chosen for symbolic reasons. While this may have been the case, replication studies imply that the dominance of red ochre in archaeological deposits can result from either anthropogenic or post-depositional activities. Yellow, brown and orange hydrated iron oxides can be transformed from yellow or brown to red, or shades of red, through heat in simple camp fires. Ochre processing areas and variously colored ochre nodules found at Sibudu Cave, South Africa, confirm the presence of both hydrated and dehydroxylated forms of iron oxide. Replications demonstrate that yellow ochre can transform to red or shades of red when it is buried in sand under a fire. Temperatures of 300 to 400 degrees C can routinely be obtained 5 cm below a small camp fire and temperatures of close to 300 degrees C can even be achieved 10 cm below the centre of a fire. Such conditions are ideal for dehydroxylating iron oxides and transforming their colors. In the past, the transformation may sometimes have been deliberate, but on other occasions ochre nodules or ochre residues present on artefacts may have been heated serendipitously through unintentional proximity to heat; thus fires lit above ancestral camp sites can cause post-depositional change to the colloids or minerals thousands of years after they were used at a site.

Download [Restricted Access]

The Taphonomist´s Corner: Paleoanthropoogical taphonomy in Southern Africa.

Travis Rayne Pickering.

Keywords

Download [Restricted Access]

Volumen 10. Number 3-4. Year 2012.

2019-11-06T23:02:06+02:00October 26th, 2019|Volumen 10. Number 3-4. Year 2012.|

VOLUME 10. NUMBER 3-4. 2012 [SPECIAL ISSUE. Edited by Jordi Rosell, Enrique Baquedano, Ruth Blasco, Edgard Camarós]

New Insights on Hominid-Carnivore Interactions during the Pleistocene.

Jordi Rosell, Enrique Baquedano, Ruth Blasco, Edgard Camarós.

Keywords

Download [Restricted Access]

Competition Theory and the Case for Pleistocene Hominin-Carnivore Co-evolution.

Mary C. Stiner.

Keywords: ZOOARCHAEOLOGY, TAPHONOMY, PREDATOR-PREDATOR INTERACTIONS, PREY AGE SELECTION, BONE TRANSPORT, PREY CHOICE

[+info] VOLUME 10. NUMBERS 3&4. 2012 (2 issue)

Virtually every period in human evolutionary history provides examples of co-evolutionary processes with animal, plant or fungi species. Some of the earliest examples of co-evolutionary processes come from zooarchaeological studies of human interactions with members of the order Carnivora. Archaeological research on this subject goes back 50 years or more and follows numerous conceptual paths. This paper explores ideas and some of the evidence of hominin-carnivore co-evolutionary processes from the viewpoint of evolutionary ecology and the extent to which these ideas have progressed in recent decades. The challenge is to demonstrate that the evolutionary paths of co-evolving species were mutually constrained. Some key behavioral outcomes among humans include non-primate behaviors such as habitual food transport, extensive food sharing and efficient processing of animal foods-behaviors also critical to the success of many of the social carnivores. Another outcome argued to have arisen from co-evolutionary relations is partial complementarity in the patterns of prey age selection among humans and other large predators across African and Eurasian ecosystems. At the heart of ideas about cause in hominin-carnivore co-evolution are competition models.

Download [Restricted Access]

A Comparative Neo-Taphonomic Study of Felids, Hyaenids and Canids: an Analogical Framework Based on Long Bone Modification Patterns.

Manuel Domínguez-Rodrigo, Agness O. Gidna, J. Yravedra, C. Musiba.

Keywords: TAPHONOMY, BONE SURFACE MODIFICATION, FURROWING, FELID, HYAENID, CANID

[+info] VOLUME 10. NUMBERS 3&4. 2012 (3 issue)

Previous studies have emphasized the overlap in bone modifications by different types of carnivores. However, the documented overlap is not enough to prevent taphonomists from differentiating among carnivore types (e.g., felids, hyaenids and canids). The present work elaborates on previous experimental works and produces an analogical framework created with the intention of differentiating predator/scavenger bone modification by analyzing furrowing patterns on epiphyseal ends. Taking long bones from the same carcass type as a reference, it will be shown that the three major groups of carnivores (felids, hyaenids and canids) can be successfully differentiated. The patterns of long bone furrowing by these three groups will be presented.

Download [Restricted Access]

Food Web Structure during the European Pleistocene.

G. Rodríguez-Gómez, J. Rodríguez , A. Mateos, J.A. Martín-González, I. Goikoetxea.

Keywords: FOOD WEBS, PLEISTOCENE, STANDING MASS, CARNIVORE GUILD

[+info] VOLUME 10. NUMBERS 3&4. 2012 (4 issue)

Several models that have been proposed for explaining human evolution involve human-carnivore relationships. Reconstructing the structure and functioning of past food webs is, therefore, essential for evaluating the assumptions and conclusions of these models. Here we present a preliminary attempt to reconstruct the structure of some Pleistocene food webs from the Iberian Peninsula and to compare them with recent food webs from several regions and environments. The present work is a first step towards the reconstruction of past food web dynamics and is aimed at gaining a better understanding of the role of humans in past food webs. Our analysis was restricted to mammals weighing more than 10 kg because they constitute the portion of the food web that allegedly included hominins. Predator-prey interactions for fossil species pairs are inferred from their body sizes, evidence from the fossil record and behavioural information from close living relatives. The number of potential prey per predator in Pleistocene and recent food webs is compared, and the relationship between the number of secondary consumers and the standing biomass of primary consumers, estimated using allometric relationships, is investigated. Pleistocene food webs show a distinctive architecture, with a relatively large number of secondary consumers and a small number of primary consumers. In addition, the size distribution of primary consumers also differs between recent and Pleistocene food webs. Our results point to high intraguild competition during the Pleistocene, especially during the Early Pleistocene, which may have conditioned resource availability for Paleolithic hunter-gatherer populations.

Download [Restricted Access]

Neanderthals, Bears and Hyenas, oh my! Competition for Exclusive Use of Space.

James G. Enloe.

Keywords: NEANDERTHALS, BEARS, HYENAS, COMPETITION

[+info] VOLUME 10. NUMBERS 3&4. 2012 (5 issue)

Pleistocene cave sediments present a complex geological, paleontological and archaeological record. Cave strata represent long time-averaged depositional processes that reflect substantial climatic variation. Parsing the occupation of caves by hominids and carnivores during the Middle Palaeolithic is one of the challenges of taphonomic research. Both groups served as accumulators of animal bone in what became palimpsests of repeated occupations. These are low-resolution deposits, making it difficult to discern patterning and spatial organization or the relationship between hominids and carnivores. The Grotte du Bison, Arcy-sur-Cure, France contains a well documented sequence of occupations by Neanderthals and other carnivores within a long geologic sequence that reflects climatic variation. This paper explores the periodicity and frequency of use of the cave by different species over time. Data suggest a low frequency of habitation by hominids and more frequent occupation by hyenas and other large carnivores during the Mousterian, with little inter-species competition for space at any given time. Later in the sequence, during the Châtelperronian, data indicate exclusive occupation by Neanderthals, followed by abandonment of the space to hibernating bears, with a shift in occupation by humans to the neighboring Grotte du Renne.

Download [Restricted Access]

Bone Modification by Modern Wolf (Canis lupus): A Taphonomic Study From their Natural Feeding Places.

Philippe Fosse, Nuria Selva, Wojciech Smietana, Henryk Okarma, Adam Wajrak, Jean Baptiste Fourvel, Stéphane Madelaine, Montserrat Esteban-Nadal, Isabel Cáceres, José Yravedra, Jean Philip Brugal, Audrey Prucca, Gary Haynes.

Keywords: TAPHONOMY, WOLF, BONE DESTRUCTIONS, SCATS

[+info] VOLUME 10. NUMBERS 3&4. 2012 (6 issue)

Large carnivore neotaphonomy is used to provide guidelines for understanding fossil bone assemblages. However, few studies have been carried out on the taphonomic signatures of wolves (Canis lupus) in their natural settings. From 2001 to 2007, 56 wolf feeding places were studied in 2 geographic areas of Poland (Bialowieza, Bieszczady). We recorded ecological aspects such as prey selection, time span of carcasses use, scavengers' activity and the identification of prey from ungulate hairs found in scats, and taphonomic considerations, such as the number and type of bone remains, intensity of tooth modification on carcasses and the effect of digestion on skeletal elements observed in scats. Localities studied included kill sites (4 C. capreolus and 20 C. elaphus in Bialowieza, 29 C. elaphus in Bieszczady) and scavenging sites (10 B. bonasus carcasses in Bialowieza). In order to characterize taphonomically impact of wolf on medium- and large-size ungulates, the general bone modifications recorded in this study are compared with data from North American and Iberian wolf feeding sites as well as from other large carnivore (Crocuta) den contents.

Download [Restricted Access]

The Wild Wolf (Canis lupus) as a Dispersal Agent of Animal Carcasses in Northwestern Spain.

José Yravedra, Laura Lagos, Felipe Bárcena.

Keywords: TAPHONOMY, WOLVES, HORSES, DISPERSION

[+info] VOLUME 10. NUMBERS 3&4. 2012 (7 issue)

Hominid-carnivore interaction is a constant feature along the Pleistocene: both species shared time and space, and contributed to the formation of bone assemblages. Thus, the identification of the agent responsible for the accumulations found in any site demands a series of analyses. Taking into account that wolves were frequent carnivores in the European Pleistocene as well as potential predators of medium-sized prey, we approach the study of the record they produce on carcasses. Based on previous works of their taphonomic impact on horse carcasses (Yravedra et al., 2011), we now focus on the distribution patterns they generate and the identification of wolves either as dispersal or accumulating agents in order to compare this behaviour with the patterns found at Palaeolithic sites. Our research suggests that wolves are wolves are shown to be agents of dispersal.

Download [Restricted Access]

Consumption of Ungulate Long Bones by Pleistocene Hyaenas: a Comparative Study.

Jean-Baptiste Fourvel, Philippe Fosse, Jean-Philip Brugal, Jean-François Tournepiche, Evelyne Cregut-Bonnoure.

Keywords: CROCUTA, PLEISTOCENE, TAPHONOMY, BONE DAMAGE, UNGULATES, CONSUMPTION, FRAGMENTATION, TOOTH MARK

[+info] VOLUME 10. NUMBERS 3&4. 2012 (8 issue)

Hyaenas are important consumers of meat and accumulators of bone. A number of taphonomic studies have focused on modern and fossil assemblages accumulated by hyaenas with a view to developing greater understanding of palaeontological and archaeological assemblages. This research has revealed important variability in the characteristics of bone accumulations, not only through different methods of study, but also because of field context, intrinsic factors, such as occupation time and age profiles, and extrinsic factors, such as climatic conditions, prey species structure, competition. In order to characterize hyaenas as taphonomic agents, we present a diachronic comparison of the consumption of long bones of medium-to-large ungulates (size categories III to V) by cave hyaenas Crocuta crocuta spelaea based on Middle to Upper Pleistocene assemblages from Lunel-Viel 1 (Marine Isotopic Stage 9-11; NISP=2149), Artenac c10 (MIS 5c; NIPS=136), Peyre (MIS 5e; NISP=330), Fouvent (MIS 3; NISP=194) and Conives (MIS 3; NISP=523). Fragmentation of appendicular elements highlights two features; depending on the element, bones with significant amounts of meat and marrow (humerus, radius, femur, tibia) are widely represented by long shaft fragments with chewing damage, while metapodials, which are consumed to a lesser degree are often complete or have large portions of their shafts intact with often an end affected by scooping out on the caudal side. Comparison of bone accumulations from modern hyaena dens (Djibouti) and bone consumed by other Holocene and Pleistocene predators, Ursus arctos (Mont Ventoux) and Panthera onca gombaszoegensis (Artenac Ens. I and II), highlights the particular taphonomic signature and significant impact of Cave hyaenas on medium-to-large size prey.

Download [Restricted Access]

Late Pleistocene Large Mammal Paleocommunities: A Comparative Study Between Localities with Brown Bear (Ursus arctos), Cave bear (U. spelaeus) and Mousterian Lithic Assemblage.

Suvi Viranta, Aurora Grandal d’Anglade.

Keywords: URSUS SPELAUS, URSUS ARCTOS, MOUSTERIAN CULTURE, PALEOCOMMUNITY, EXTINCTION

[+info] VOLUME 10. NUMBERS 3&4. 2012 (9 issue)

Cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) and brown bear (U. arctos) fossils are common in the Eurasian Late Pleistocene deposits. Human presence is often indicated by Mousterian culture artifacts. The cave bear and the Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis), a human group associated with Mousterian culture, became extinct before the Holocene, whereas the brown bear survived. Here we studied large mammal paleocommunities from fossil localities with brown bear fossils, cave bear fossils and Mousterian lithic assemblage in the Late Pleistocene to test if paleocommunities reflect different habitats for brown bear than the two extinct species. Second we asked if paleocommunities in sites with Mousterian culture assemblage reflect more the prey selection than the environment of the people. Our results indicate that Mousterian sites have higher abundance of equids and mustelids than the bear sites, but lower abundance of large carnivores, especially cursorial ones. These probably reflect prey preferences and competitive exclusion of large carnivores by people associated with Mousterian lithic culture. We found no significant differences in paleocommunities suggesting different habitats for brown bear, cave bear or for people associated with Mousterian lithic assemblage.

Download [Restricted Access]

Interactions Between Neanderthals and Carnivores in Eastern Europe.

Marylène Patou-Mathis.

Keywords: BEHAVIORS, NEANDERTHALS, CARNIVORES, EASTERN EUROPE

[+info] VOLUME 10. NUMBERS 3&4. 2012 (10 issue)

In Eastern Europe, they are many Middle Paleolithic caves, dated to the Last Interglacial of the First Wechselien Interpleniglacial, which delivered both traces of human and ursid occupations. Moreover, this occurs less frequently in hyena dens. By region, three types of archaeological sites have been evidenced: (1) poor in carnivore bones, (2) rich in bones of different carnivorous species, (3) rich in bones of one carnivore species, divided into two types: low anthropogenic occupation (3a) and high anthropogenic occupation (3b). In Eastern Europe, the exploitation of carnivores by Neanderthals is very rare, it appears slightly more intense in layers with industry attributed to the transition and the ancient Aurignacian.

Download [Restricted Access]

Human and Hyena Co-occurrences in Pleistocene sites: Insights from Spatial, Faunal and Lithic Analyses at Camiac and La Chauverie (SW France).

Emmanuel Discamps, Anne Delagnes, Michel Lenoir, Jean-François Tournepiche.

Keywords: BEHAVIORS, NEANDERTHALS, CARNIVORES, EASTERN EUROPE

[+info] VOLUME 10. NUMBERS 3&4. 2012 (11 issue)

In several caves, lithic artifacts or human-modified bones have been found as more or less associated with large faunal assemblages accumulated by cave hyenas. Even if these small records remain often hard to interpret, they are essential to understand interactions between human groups and other cave dwellers. Their study can bring new elements of discussion on critical issues such as the intensity of competition for shelter occupation or the potential existence of specific human activities in hyena dens (e.g. scavenging of meat scraps, collecting of bones). Here we present an interdisciplinary work on two Upper Pleistocene hyena dens, Camiac and La Chauverie, where a small number of Middle Paleolithic artifacts have been found. Results are provided by the combination of three disciplines: faunal taphonomy, lithic analyses (including studies of reduction sequences) and spatial analysis (threedimensional plotting, systematic refitting). At Camiac and La Chauverie, our interdisciplinary analysis highlights two distinctive types of human occupations. Sites that first seem to be closely related (hyena dens with scarce lithic artifacts) hide in fact a variety of situations, ranging from the succession of independent occupations of human groups and hyenas to potential traces of short human visits to hyena dens. Finally, by comparing our results with the regional record, we discuss the actual evidence for competition for shelter between cave hyenas and the last Neanderthals in southwestern France.

Download [Restricted Access]

Dhole (Cuon alpinus) as a Bone Accumulator and New Taphonomic Agent? The Case of Noisetier Cave (French Pyrenees).

Jean-Baptiste Mallye, SandrineCostamagno, MyriamBoudadi-Maligne, Audrey Prucca, Véronique Lauroulandie, Céline Thiébaut, VincentMourre.

Keywords: DHOLE, CUON, COPROCOENOSIS, TAPHONOMY, NOISETIER CAVE, BONE ACCUMULATION, DIGESTION, LATE PLEISTOCENE

[+info] VOLUME 10. NUMBERS 3&4. 2012 (12 issue)

Noisetier Cave (French Pyrenees) has yielded Mousterian artefacts associated with numerous faunal remains. The faunal spectrum is dominated by chamois and ibex followed by red deer and bovids. A previous taphonomic analysis underlined the occurrence of two distinct types of bone accumulations. The red deer, bovid and a part of the ibex remains have been accumulated by Neanderthal. We suspected that the bearded vultures were responsible for the chamois and some of the ibex remains. The study of the carnivore remains illustrated the abundance of teeth and to a lesser extent bones attributed to both young and adult Cuon alpinus individuals. The identification of shed milk teeth demonstrates that this carnivore used the cave as a nursery den. According to several authors dholes never bring back carcasses to their dens in order to protect their offspring from other carnivores. However they tend to select an area inside their den to defecate. We analysed modern scats of wolf in order to constitute a taphonomic referential. Our results strongly suggest that most of the digested remains from the Noisetier Cave come from dhole scats. This carnivore can be considered, as Binford previously suggested, as a bone accumulator and consequently as a new taphonomic agent. Given the numerous sites where the fossil remains of this carnivore were identified we argue that the dholes could have biased the composition of faunal spectrums and maybe our understanding on human subsistence.

Download [Restricted Access]

Carcass Acquisition and Consumption by Carnivores and Hominins in Middle Pleistocene Sites of Casablanca (Morocco).

Camille Daujeard, Denis Geraads, Rosalia Gallotti, Abderrahim Mohib, Jean-Paul Raynal.

Keywords: HOMININS, CARNIVORES, MOROCCO, MIDDLE PLEISTOCENE, SUBSISTENCE, COMPETITION, BONE ACCUMULATORS

[+info] VOLUME 10. NUMBERS 3&4. 2012 (13 issue)

Study of faunal series resulting from recent excavations in two caves in North Atlantic Morocco (Grotte à Hominidés - GH - and Grotte des Rhinocéros - GDR - at Thomas I and Oulad Hamida 1 quarries, Casablanca) has yielded new evidence concerning the gathering and processing of ungulates carcasses during the Middle Pleistocene in this part of North Africa. Preliminary taphonomic analysis of the macrofauna indicates that the carcasses were mainly introduced in the caves by carnivores. Additionally, marks generated by porcupines also occur. Dimensions and morphologies of tooth-marks and coprolites suggest that carnivores of different sizes (mainly middle-sized canids, hyenids and felids), as well as porcupines, used the cave. Cut-marks on the bones are absent at GH and scarce at GDR, despite their association with lithic artefacts and human fossils. This raises the question of the relationship between hominins and other competitors in these caves. The recurring question is to determine the modalities of niche partitioning by the various predators and/or carrion-eaters as well as the mode of introduction of artefacts and human remains.

Download [Restricted Access]

Hominin-Carnivore Interaction at the Lower Palaeolithic site of Boxgrove, UK.

Geoff M. Smith

Keywords: LOWER PALAEOLITHIC, BOXGROVE, TAPHONOMY, HOMININ-CARNIVORE INTERACTIONS

[+info] VOLUME 10. NUMBERS 3&4. 2012 (14 issue)

Boxgrove is an exceptional Lower Palaeolithic locality. Fine grained deposits that contain large quantities of lithic tools and modified fauna have been identified and excavated over a large area. These large data sets allow for a unique discussion of hominin-carnivore interactions at a landscape scale. Modifications identified and reported in this study demonstrate that hominins had primary access to most carcasses and products. This primacy can be tracked across the site and relates to animals of different sizes and that inhabited different environmental niches. Where carnivore and hominin modifications have been identified on the same specimen, the former frequently overlie the latter. Furthermore, Boxgrove preserves evidence for the repeated episodes of hominin-carnivore behaviour within and across this landsurface along with evidence for single episode butchery at GTP 17. At Boxgrove there is evidence for direct hominin-carnivore interaction. There is a high intensity and quantity of hominin butchery signatures compared to carnivore modifications. The Boxgrove faunal assemblage clearly indicates that by 500 kya H. heidelbergensis was a top predator in this environment and capable of acquiring and securing prey, of various sizes, against other carnivores such as lion and hyaena.

Download [Restricted Access]

Did Neanderthals and Carnivores Compete for Animal Nutritional Resources in the Surroundings of the Cave of Zafarraya?

Miguel Caparrós, Cecilio Barroso Ruíz, Anne Marie Moigne, Antonio Monclova Bohorquez.

Keywords: ZAFARRAYA, NEANDERTHALS, CARNIVORES, INTERACTIONS, HERBIVORES, CAPRA PYRENAICA, LITHICS, PATH ANALYSIS

[+info] VOLUME 10. NUMBERS 3&4. 2012 (15 issue)

This paper proposes a novel approach to study the interactions of Neanderthals and carnivores in the cave of Zafarraya by comparing the lithic archaeological and faunal records with a statistical path analysis, taking into consideration the ecology of the main carnivore predators and large herbivore prey foraging in the surroundings of the cave. The results of the analyses confirm and shed further light on previous taphonomic and zooarcheological research. The findings concur with the two-species Lotka- Volterra competition model for resources which stipulates that when niche overlap is complete the species with the larger fitness excludes the other. Our analysis shows that in the immediate vicinity of the cave, the fitness of Panthera was greater than Neanderthals', i.e. when Panthera was present it excluded Neanderthals as evidenced by the record of Capra and Rupicapra remains. It also shows that further in the southern hills and the polje where large herbivores roamed, Neanderthals had a greater fitness than carnivores which translated into their primary accumulation in the cave of remains of Cervus elaphus and other large herbivores. Coexistence from occasional niche overlap is apparent when one or the other predator scavenged, but from a time prospective it must have been short periods linked to seasonality, weather conditions and occupation randomness. In Zafarraya, the archaeological record would indicate that the degree of fitness of the herbivore prey accumulators, carnivores or Neanderthals, was related to the nature of the geomorphological domains in the vicinity of the cave and the favored foraging areas of hunted herbivores.

Download [Restricted Access]

The Complex Carnivore-rich Assemblages from Furninha (Peniche, Portugal): a Multidisciplinary Approach.

Jean-Philip Brugal, Jacqueline Argant, José António Crispim, Silvério Figueiredo, Alberto Martín Serra, Paul Palmqvist.

Keywords: CARNIVORES, PLEISTOCENE, PORTUGAL, TAPHONOMY, TAXONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, ECOLOGY, COMPETITION

[+info] VOLUME 10. NUMBERS 3&4. 2012 (16 issue)

The cave-site of Furninha is located on the sea cliff face of the small peninsular zone of Peniche in Portuguese Estremadura. Excavated by N. Delgado at the end of nineteenth century, it yielded a very rich and diversified Pleistocene vertebrate assemblage attributed to the early Late Pleistocene. A preliminary global overview is given in terms of geology, palaeobotany, palaeobiology s.l. and taphonomy. The fossils come from a ca.6 m deep pit in the basement of the karstic galleries with several layers. Carnivore remains dominate among large mammals, especially bear, hyena, wolf and lynx. In contrast, herbivore remains are few and show specific damage due to predators. Among the small mammals, a huge number of leporid bones as well as remains of insectivores and birds were found. Some few lithic artifacts occurred. The two first predators, bear and hyena, represent a well preserved collection with several skulls and mandibles as well as many complete long bones from both young and adult individuals. Hyenid remains are attributed to 'Hyaena prisca', a taxon known from late Middle Pleistocene sites, which survived later in Portugal. Its taxonomic and phyletic relationships are not well known, and first morphofunctional analyses precise its status and paleoautoecology. We detail the vertebrate assemblages recovered from the different stratigraphic layers, which will allow us to comment the degree of intra- and interspecific competitions, and to explain the origin of such bone accumulations and behaviors of these predators.

Download [Restricted Access]

Exploring Cave Use and Exploitation Among Cave Bears, Carnivores and Hominins in the Swabian Jura, Germany.

Keiko Kitagawa, Petra Krönneck, Nicholas J. Conard, Susanne C. Münzel.

Keywords: MIDDLE PALEOLITHIC, AURIGNACIAN, GRAVETTIAN, CAVE USE, CAVE BEARS, CARNIVORES, SWABIAN JURA

[+info] VOLUME 10. NUMBERS 3&4. 2012 (17 issue)

This study offers an overview of carnivore remains from archaeological contexts and provides evidence of interaction between carnivores and hominins in the Swabian Jura during the Middle and Upper Paleolithic (~50,000-27,000 uncal B.P.). First, we present data on the carnivores in the faunal assemblages from the area, followed by a general comparison of anthropogenic and carnivore modifications on faunal remains. Further, we describe some archaeological findings that demonstrate unique ways in which humans interacted with carnivores in the early and middle Upper Paleolithic. This study documents the pattern of carnivore representation in the zooarchaeological assemblages on a regional scale. The analyses of faunal assemblages across five cave sites in the two valleys of the Swabian Jura indicate intensified use of caves by humans, which corresponds to a decreased presence of large and medium sized carnivores at the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic in addition to the use of carnivore figures in the cultural repertoire of the Aurignacian and the increased exploitation of carnivores in the Gravettian period.

Download [Restricted Access]

Evidences of Interaction Homo-Cuon in three Upper Pleistocene Sites of the Iberian Mediterranean Central Region.

Juan Vicente Morales Pérez, Alfred Sanchis Serra, Cristina Real Margalef, Manuel Pérez Ripoll, Joan Emili Aura Tortosa, Valentín Villaverde Bonilla.

Keywords: CUON, HUMANS, INTERACTION, ACCUMULATION, ANTHROPIC MARKS, UPPER PLEISTOCENE, IBERIAN MEDITERRANEAN

[+info] VOLUME 10. NUMBERS 3&4. 2012 (18 issue)

Several cuon bones were discovered recently in three Upper Pleistocene archeological sites in the central area of the Iberian Mediterranean. This has proved that there were different types of interactions between dholes and prehistoric human groups. Firstly, evidence found in the archeological sites of Cova Negra and Coves de Santa Maira shows the use of carcasses of dholes by human hunter-gatherers. Secondly, the dhole remains recovered in Cova del Parpalló shows the dholes and humans could occupy the same habitat. In this case, the dhole died by natural causes in a small and isolated gallery before the human groups occupied the cave during the gravettian period. Associated with the dhole bones, there were also many ungulate mammal remains found. Some of these bones shows carnivore tooth marks. Due to these findings, we can presume that the dhole might have been the predator responsible for the bones discovered within the chamber. With the data provided we can come to the conclusion that this species had a more prominent role than we originally thought.

Download [Restricted Access]

A Taphonomic study of the Búho and Zarzamora caves. Hyenas and Humans in the Iberian Plateau (Segovia, Spain) during the Late Pleistocene.

M.T. Nohemi Sala, Milagros Algaba, Juan Luis Arsuaga, Arantza Aranburu, Ana Pantoja.

Keywords: HYENA DEN, ZARZAMORA CAVE, KARSTIC SITE, TAPHONOMY

[+info] VOLUME 10. NUMBERS 3&4. 2012 (19 issue)

The Búho and the Zarzamora caves (Segovia, Spain) are two small karstic cavities in the North of the Central System Cretaceous limestones, in the transitional region between the Sierra de Guadarrama Mountains and the Castilian Plateau. The infilling sediment was excavated during two periods, from 1988-1990 and from 2008- actuality, and subsequently has been assigned to the Late Pleistocene. The aim of this study is the taphonomical analysis of the macrofaunal remains from the old and the new excavation campaigns. The taxonomical list includes: Carnivora (Crocuta crocuta, cf. Panthera sp., Lynx sp., Canis lupus, Vulpes vulpes and Meles meles), Perissodactyla (Equus ferus, Equus hydruntinus and Stephanorhinus hemitoechus) and Artiodactyla (Sus scrofa, Cervus elaphus, Bison priscus and Bos primigenius). The abundance of hyena juveniles and coprolites, as well as carnivore tooth marks and digested bones suggest that the Búho and Zarzamora caves worked as a spotted hyena den during the Late Pleistocene. Nevertheless some human activity is also present in the Zarzamora cave site with evidences of cut marks in carnivore remains (Lynx sp.). The macro faunal association suggests an open environment where equids were the most abundant herbivores.

Download [Restricted Access]

Multidisciplinary Approach to two Chatelperronian Series: Lower IX Layer of Labeko Koba and X Level of Ekain (Basque Country, Spain).

Aritza Villaluenga, Alvaro Arrizabalaga, Joseba Rios-Garaizar.

Keywords: URSUS SPELAEUS, CROCUTA CROCUTA SPELAEA, CHATELPERRONIAN, LABEKO KOBA, EKAIN, TAPHONOMY, LITHIC TECHNO-TIPOLOGY, USE-WEAR ANALYSIS

[+info] VOLUME 10. NUMBERS 3&4. 2012 (20 issue)

Lower IX level from Labeko Koba and X level of Ekain have been considered relevant because their archaeological attribution to the Chatelperronian. Nevertheless the association of these archaeological evidences with complex faunal assemblages, characterized by the high presence of carnivores, requires a detailed archaeozoological analysis in order to understand the real nature of human interaction in the site and thus asses the function of these occupations. The Labeko Koba IX lower layer is an occupation of cave hyenas (Crocuta crocuta spelaea), where we can identify, through a taphonomic analysis that a part of the assemblage had anthropic origin. On the other hand, the level X of Ekain is an accumulation of remains of cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) associated with a small assemblage of lithic artifacts. The particularities of cave bear ethology during hibernation suggest that ursids were not the main accumulator of other species bones. In this paper, we wish to contribute to a better understanding of human presence in these sites during the Chatelperronian, by comparing the results produced by the Archaeozoology and the Lithic Techno-tipology. Grace to this interdisciplinary study it has been possible to identify, in both levels, the role played by carnivores and humans in faunal remain accumulation and thus characterize the impact and nature of human presence in both sites. This paper could be a contribution for understanding the coevolution of humans and carnivores in caves of the southwestern Europe during the early Upper Palaeolithic.

Download [Restricted Access]

Cave Bear (Ursus spelaeus Rosenmüller Heinroth, 1794) and Humans During the Early Upper Pleistocene (Lower and Middle Palaeolithic) in Lezetxiki, Lezetxiki II and Astigarragako Kobea (Basque Country, Spain). Preliminary Approach.

Aritza Villaluenga, Pedro Castaños, Alvaro Arrizabalaga, Jose Antonio Mujika Alustiza.

Keywords: URSUS SPELAEUS DENINGEROIDE, URSUS SPELAEUS, EARLY UPPER PLEISTOCENE, LOWER PALAEOLITIHIC, LEZETXIKI, LEZETXIKI II, ASTIGARRAGAKO KOBEA, ARCHAEOZOOLOGY, TAPHONOMY

[+info] VOLUME 10. NUMBERS 3&4. 2012 (21 issue)

Cave bear (Ursus spelaeus Rosenmüller-Heinroth, 1794) are the most abundant taxon in the lower levels of many archaeological sites in Cantabrian Area. Through the scientific literature, archaeological levels have been consistently assigned to the different cultural periods, depending on the identified stone tools. In this paper, we would like to contribute to the interpretation of these sequences, through the accurate analysis of their archaeozoological accumulations. By presenting three examples, Lezetxiki, Lezetxiki II and Astigarragako Kobea, we will try to bring new data to this problem. Archaeozoological analysis carried out at these three stratigraphical sequences, have shown the existence of intense bears (Ursus spelaeus deningeroide Mottle, 1964 and Ursus spelaeus Rosenmüller-Heinroth, 1794) occupation and human groups ephemeral presence (through the presence of lithic implements), in the oldest levels (Lower Palaeolithic) stratigraphic series of the three cavities. Our aim is to present the preliminary archeozoological and taphonomic results of these three sequences.

Download [Restricted Access]

Bears and Hyenas from the Latest Pleistocene of Southern Iberia: Sima de Abraham, Priego de Córdoba, Andalusia.

Rafael María Martínez-Sánchez, Juan Manuel López-García, Antonio Alcalá-Ortíz, Hugues-Alexandre Blain, Raquel Rabal-Garcés, María Dolores Bretones-García, Joaquín Rodríguez-Vidal, Arancha Martínez-Aguirre.

Keywords: BEARS, HYENAS, CUT MARKS, LATE PLEISTOCENE, SINKHOLES, SOUTHERN IBERIA

[+info] VOLUME 10. NUMBERS 3&4. 2012 (22 issue)

This work describes the fossil accumulations recovered during the excavation of the sinkhole called Sima de Abraham (Sierra Alcaide, Priego de Córdoba, Iberia). This site is characterized by a prominent accumulation of mammalian fossil remains, including carnivores (especially bears, lynx, wildcats and spotted hyenas) and artiodactyls (red deer and ibex) among other species. Human activity does not seem to be the primary agent of accumulation, although a series of cut marks have been found on the articular cavity of the proximal ulna of a large bear, providing interesting insight into the interaction between bears and humans. The age of the deposit was set in the Late Pleistocene in a previous study according to the presence of the southern water vole (Arvicola sapidus) and subsequently corroborated by means of AMS and U/Th, obtaining an approximate age of 40- 30 ky BP, corresponding to MIS 3, in the latest Pleistocene.

Download [Restricted Access]

Human-Carnivore Interaction at the End of the Pleistocene in Southern Patagonia, Chile.

Fabiana María Martin

Keywords: INTERACTION, PLEISTOCENE, CARNIVORES, HUNTER-GATHERERS, CAVES

[+info] VOLUME 10. NUMBERS 3&4. 2012 (23 issue)

Fossil evidence about the interaction between carnivores and the first human colonizers of southern South America is presented. The time overlap of carnivores and humans in this region is discussed using the available Late Pleistocene radiocarbon chronologies. On the other hand, the selection of places to live in the regional space is evaluated. Cases in which both carnivores (Panthera onca mesembrina, Smilodon sp., Arctotherium tarijense) and humans are present in the same sites-deposits are then considered and it appears that their interaction was not important. Evidence for human utilization of sites dominated by carnivores is ephemeral at most, while the presence of carnivores at sites dominated by humans is never important. The faunal record from both classes of sites indicates that carnivores as well as humans shared some subsistence resources (Hippidion saldiasi and camelids). However, they differ in the selection of living spaces. Carnivores selected endogenous caves, while humans tend to use exogenous caves.

Download [Restricted Access]

The Taphonomist´s Corner: Hominid-carnivore interactions.

Jordi Rosell, Enrique Baquedano, Ruth Blasco, Edgard Camarós.

Keywords

Download [Restricted Access]

Volumen 12. Number 1. Year 2014.

2019-11-06T23:04:03+02:00October 26th, 2019|Volumen 12. Number 1. Year 2014.|

VOLUME 12. NUMBERS 1. 2014

Arctic Wolf and Spotted Hyena Gnawing Damage on an Experimental Faunal Assemblage.

Alexander Nascou, Eugène Morin.

Keywords: CARNIVORE TAPHONOMY, HYENAS, WOLVES, EXPERIMENT, TOOTH MARKS, PALEOLITHIC

[+info] VOLUME 12. NUMBERS 1. 2014 (1 issue)

Humans compete with carnivores for animal resources. As a result of this competition and because carcasses can be used sequentially by different classes of predators, it is often difficult to identify the agent of accumulation in archaeological settings. If efficiency in feeding behaviour has been selected for, it may be possible to use such behavioural predispositions to predict the manner in which a faunal assemblage will be modified. To assess this problem, we performed a series of feeding experiments with captive arctic wolves and spotted hyenas. Our results suggest that these species produce predictable patterns of gnawing damage on skeletal elements when key variables are manipulated, including prey body size and the presence of intact marrow cavities. Patterns of gnawing damage also appear to be associated with bone density, developmental age, and the amount of adhering flesh. The effect of these factors also appears to vary between carnivore species. Further understanding of carnivore ecology and behaviour will be useful to archaeozoologists and palaeontologists who are faced with complex site formation processes involving multiple agents.

Download [Restricted Access]

Taphonomic analysis of small ungulates modified by fox (Vulpes vulpes) in Southwestern Europe.

José Yravedra Sainz de los Terreros*, Miriam Andrés, Philippe Fosse, Jean Pierre Besson.

Keywords: FOX, CARNIVORES, TOOTH MARKS, TAPHONOMY, SMALL UNGULATES

[+info] VOLUME 12. NUMBERS 1. 2014 (2 issue)

The interaction between humans and carnivores regarding bone modification is a frequent taphonomic phenomenon generating palimpsest where the activity of both agents is present. However, recent research has mainly been concerned with the identification of their individual action. In the case of carnivores, hyenas and felids were the most studied species, while other animals were virtually postponed in the agenda. Considering the abundance of fossil evidence of foxes in the European Pleistocene, this paper presents new data for the taphonomic characterization of fox behaviour. Thus, our interest is to improve the referential framework available for this carnivore's action aiming at its identification in the Pleistocene fossil record. Hence, we describe the analysis of two modern assemblages modified by foxes: the first one corresponds to a natural-death assemblage near Ayllón (Segovia, Spain) and the second to a den site in Ourtiaga (Pyrenées, France). In order to characterise fox action, we analyse its behaviour by means of the analysis of tooth marks and fracture patterns. Regarding the former, mark frequency, types, dimensions and distribution are considered. Finally, with the intention of discriminating fox behaviour from human action, we simulated tooth mark frequencies and distribution on a carcass which was previously fractured by humans.

Download [Restricted Access]

Taphonomy of a fish accumulation by the European Otter (Lutra lutra) in central France.

Emilie Guillaud, Philippe Béarez, Christiane Denys, Stéphane Raimond.

Keywords: OTTER, PREDATOR, DIGESTION, SPRAINTS, FISH BONES, TAPHONOMY

[+info] VOLUME 12. NUMBERS 1. 2014 (3 issue)

Fish remains are abundant and easily recognizable in many archaeological sites. But, the origin of such assemblages is generally poorly known. However, the ability to create small fish bone accumulations is restricted to a small number of predators (including raptors, carnivores, and humans). In order to recognize the agents responsible for these concentrations in archaeological sites, we have investigated the taphonomy of the fish remains from otter spraints to determine the potential role of otters in the formation of fossil assemblages. Currently, few data are available to characterize the accumulation of otter remains in natural or archaeological sites. We analyzed a collection of 29 otter spraints from Bugeat (Corrèze) in central France. We identified the remains of nine fish species including, brown trout ((Salmo trutta, Salmonidae), perch (Perca fluviatilis, Percidae), pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus, Centrarchidae), and several Cyprinidae, rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus), minnow (Phoxinus phoxinus), bullhead (Cottus gobio) and the indeterminate pair chub/dace (Squalius cephalus/Leuciscus leuciscus). The species and the body parts present, along with the reconstruction of the fish weight and observations of any modifications, such as deformation, rounding and polishing, give us insight into otter prey categories and their transformation after digestion. Among the ca. 200 bones constituting the whole fish skeleton, only between 6 and 39 bones survived according the different species. Cyprinids display a high moderate digestion grade and seems to be the taxon most affected by digestion (64.67%). Based on surface modifications, such as breakage and digestion traces, as well as bone element representation, we produced a set of criteria as a new tool to be applied to the fossil record.

Download [Restricted Access]

The Taphonomist´s Corner: Deciphering dinosaur motion through a track.

Alberto Cobos, Luis Alcalá.

Keywords

Download [Restricted Access]

Volumen 15. Number 1-3. Year 2017.

2019-11-06T23:06:44+02:00October 26th, 2019|Volumen 15. Number 1-3. Year 2017.|

Volumen 15. Number 1-3. Year 2017.

Introduction to the special issue Actualistic Taphonomy in Argentina: Current Status of the Research and Future Perspectives.

Daniela Alunni, María Clara Álvarez.

Keywords: EXPERIMENTAL TAPHONOMY, FORMATION PROCESSES, BIOTURBATION, BIOMANTLE, SALADO RIVER DEPRESSION

[+info] VOLUME 15. NUMBERS 1. 2017 (1 issue)

The Salado River Depression was inhabited during the Late Holocene (2400-400 14C YBP) by pottery-maker societies with a hunting-gathering-fishing lifeway. The archaeological remains are deposited in the A horizon of the modern soil, which constitutes a "biomantle" as pedogenetic formation processes predominate. These include an intense biological activity produced by the action of roots and edaphic fauna that promote displacements of objects and their sinking to different depths. Hence the archaeological sites of this microregion are shallow. In order to broaden the knowledge about the action of earthworms in these sites, an actualistic taphonomy experiment was designed. The goal was to observe the activity of these invertebrates and to evaluate their possible incidence as a disturbing agent on small bones deposited on a soil. The aim of this paper is to introduce the methodological design of this experimentation and present the preliminary results. For this purpose, two containers with sediment containing humus and earthworms were placed in the open air. Some selected bones of Dasypus hybridus and Gallus gallus were deposited in each container. The activity of earthworms was observed along one year with a weekly record and was detected as deep as 16 cm. Other features associated -such as burrows- were documented, especially in autumn and winter. No modifications were identified on bone cortical surfaces, though vertical movement of some elements through the sediment is highlighted.

Download [Restricted Access]

Actualistic Study of a Dense Concentration of Bone Remains in the Central Plateau of Santa Cruz Province (Argentina).

Laura Marchionni, Eloisa García Añino, Laura Miotti.

Keywords: ACTUALISTIC TAPHONOMY, BONE ACCUMULATIONS, NATURAL DEATH, OVIS ARIES, ZOOARCHEOLOGY, SOUTHERN PATAGONIA

[+info] VOLUME 15. NUMBERS 1. 2017 (2 issue)

This work analyzes a modern bone concentration at Cueva 7, in Los Toldos archaeological locality, as part of the taphonomic studies that we have carried out in the northeast of the Central Plateau of Santa Cruz province (Argentina). The goal of this work is to identify the actualistic taphonomic patterns that can contribute to a better interpretation of the archaeological sites in caves or rock shelters where piles or dense bone concentrations were registered in the study region. From the identification of different taxonomic, anatomic, mortality, and bone modification patterns in this highly-dense accumulation, we evaluate the possible causes of its formation, and produce actualistic information which may be of use to learn about the different processes that accumulate and scatter zooarchaeological remains in the cave environments of the study area. The results show a monospecific assemblage integrated by no less than 43 Ovis aries individuals whose death was natural. The accumulation is characterized by a natural disarticulation pattern, which appears to be more accelerated in appendicular elements, a homogenous weathering profile with minor differences that may be associated with the microenvironments recorded inside the cave, and the very low incidence of natural agents, where trampling was the highest. This work thus provides valuable actualistic information that can be used as a parameter in the determination of possible natural contamination in archaeological contexts.

Download [Restricted Access]

Naturalistic Observations on the Disarticulation of False Killer Whales (Pseudorca crassidens) Carcasses: Fifteen Years After.

Florencia Borella, Luis A. Borrero.

Keywords: WHALES, ORDER OF DISARTICULATION, NATURAL FORMATION PROCESSES, ZOOARCHAEOLOGICAL ASSEMBLAGES, PSEUDORCA CRASSIDENS, TIERRA DEL FUEGO

[+info] VOLUME 15. NUMBERS 1. 2017 (3 issue)

A mass stranding of 181 false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) occurred in March 1989 on both sides of the Strait of Magellan. Fifteen years later, taphonomic observations were made on this concentration and the results are presented in this article. In the coast of Bahía Lomas, Tierra del Fuego (Chile), frequencies of articulated elements were quantified following Hill (1979a, 1979b), and a ranking of natural bone disarticulation for whales was proposed. This ranking was made on the basis of skeletons from one species but, given the morphological similarities of Cetaceae, it is possible to suggest that it applies to similarly-sized Odontoceti. Together with other useful taphonomic criteria (weathering and bone preservation), these results can be used to disentangle the origin of whale bone accumulations at coastal archaeological sites in different parts of the world and to estimate the time of burial of zooarchaeological assemblages. In this way, the role of whales in human diet can be discussed in greater detail.

Download [Restricted Access]

Natural Accumulation and Distribution of Guanaco Bones in the Southernmost Tip of Tierra del Fuego (Argentina): Taphonomic Analysis and Archaeological Implications.

Daniela V. Alunni, María A. Gutiérrez, Atilio F. Zangrando.

Keywords: ACTUALISTIC TAPHONOMY, MODERN BONE ACCUMULATION AND PRESERVATION, GUANACO (LAMA GUANICOE), SITE FORMATION PROCESS, COASTAL ENVIRONMENTS, MOAT BAY

[+info] VOLUME 15. NUMBERS 1. 2017 (4 issue)

In this study we evaluate modern accumulation, dispersion and preservation patterns of guanaco bones (Lama guanicoe) and discuss their implications for the zooarchaeological record of coastal Tierra del Fuego in southern South America. We surveyed four environmental units: the supra-tidal zone, forests, grasslands, and peat bogs. The guanaco assemblages consist of both disarticulated and articulated bones, most represented by limbs and heads (only two nearly complete carcasses were recorded). Natural processes such as marine abrasion largely affected the preservation of specimens, while weathering is a conspicuous effect observed on bones from the forest. Age and sex profiles, as well as variability in preservation, reflect attritional deaths in different time periods. The guanaco seems to be found regularly along the southeast coasts, being an available resource for coastal and marine hunter-gatherers with relatively narrow foraging ranges. The presence of guanaco is higher during autumn and winter. Bone remains are subject to vertical migration in peat bogs, grasslands and other soft substrates, allowing time-averaging of faunal assemblage formations.

Download [Restricted Access]

Taphonomic Effects of a Grassland Fire on a Modern Faunal Sample and its Implications for the Archaeological Record.

María C. Álvarez, Agustina Massigoge, Nahuel Scheifler, Mariela E. Gonzalez, Cristian Kaufmann, María A. Gutiérrez, Daniel J. Rafuse.

Keywords: NATURALISTIC TAPHONOMY, GRASSLAND FIRE, VERTEBRATE BONES, THERMAL ALTERATION

[+info] VOLUME 15. NUMBERS 1. 2017 (5 issue)

The main objective of this paper is to characterize the pattern of thermal alteration in a sample of modern bones collected after a natural grassland fire in the Pampas region (Argentina). A total of 917 bone remains were recovered, including a variety of different body size taxa. Results suggest that natural grassland fires affect bone remains in a more severe way than previously documented. In general, a high proportion of bones with thermal alteration (70%) was recorded for the different body size categories, with calcined bones dominating the sample. Some differences in relation to the size classes were found; specifically, a higher extension of burning was recorded for the smaller-sized taxa. For the small animals, the homogeneous distribution of the burning damage in long bones and mandibles could help to differentiate a natural grassland fire from cooking, in which the burning pattern would be more heterogeneous.

Download [Restricted Access]

The Role of the Accipitriformes Geranoaetus melanoleucus and Geranoaetus polyosoma as Small Mammal Bones Accumulators in Modern and Archaeological Sites from Central Western Argentina.

José Manuel López, Fernando J. Fernández, Claudia I. Montalvo, Horacio Chiavazza, Luciano, J.M. De Santis.

Keywords: TAPHONOMY, ACTUALISTIC MODEL, ZOOARCHAEOLOGY, MICROMAMMALS, CENTRAL WESTERN ARGENTINA, RAPTORS

[+info] VOLUME 15. NUMBERS 1. 2017 (6 issue)

Results of the taphonomic analysis of small mammal bone accumulations generated by the accipitriforms Geranoaetus melanoleucus and Geranoaetus polyosoma in several areas from Central Western Argentina (Mendoza Province) are presented here. In order to identify the role that these predators had in the formation of zooarchaeological assemblages, the anatomical representation, bone breakage patterns, and degrees of digestive corrosion were evaluated. According to these taphonomic variables, both G. melanoleucus and G. polyosoma may be placed in the Category 4 (heavy) of modification of prey bones. The results presented here were used as an analytical model for the interpretation of the micromammal fossil record from three archaeological sites in Mendoza Province. This comparison suggests that the skeletal remains recovered from one archaeological site are very close to those produced by G. polyosoma. However, accumulations from the other sites had intermediate values between those of G. polyosoma and G. melanoleucus.

Download [Restricted Access]

First Steps into the Microscopic Metrical Characterization of Bone Weathering in a Sample of Modern Guanaco (Lama guanicoe) from Southern Patagonia, Argentina: Implications for Patterns of Intraosseous Differential Preservation.

Natalia Morales, Gustavo Barrientos, Juan Bautista Belardi.

Keywords: PATAGONIA, LAMA GUANICOE, LONG BONES, DIFFERENTIAL INTRAOSSEOUS PRESERVATION, WEATHERING

[+info] VOLUME 15. NUMBERS 1. 2017 (7 issue)

In many southern Patagonia archaeological bone assemblages deposited in open-air settings, a remarkable difference in preservation between shafts and epiphyses of guanaco (Lama guanicoe) long bones, leading to an overrepresentation of the latter, has been found. It has been suggested that, in dynamic sedimentary deposits like those investigated in this region, the observed pattern is mainly related to subaerial weathering or to a combination of weathering and abrasion preferentially affecting long bone shafts, processes that may have little relationship with bone mineral density (BMD). In order to investigate in more detail the relationship between weathering and bone mineral density (BMD) and cortical thickness in guanaco long bones, a microscopic (low magnification) metrical analysis of partial cross-sections from a sample of modern radii-ulnae with a various degrees of weathering was performed. Overall, the obtained results suggest that subaerial weathering can suffice to explain the observed archaeological pattern of differential intraosseous preservation, although this inference should be further supported with data from a larger sample including other long bones as well as a more complete record of the weathering sequence.

Download [Restricted Access]

Four Decades of Actualistic Carnivore Taphonomy in the Southern Neotropics: A State of the Art.

Mariana Mondini.

Keywords: CARNIVORES, TAPHONOMY, ACTUALISTIC STUDIES, NEOTROPICS, SOUTHERN SOUTH AMERICA

[+info] VOLUME 15. NUMBERS 1. 2017 (8 issue)

Based on a bibliographic survey, this paper reviews the state of the art of actualistic taphonomic information of different autochthonous mammalian carnivores in the southern Neotropics. The characteristics of this corpus of data and its implications for the fossil record are analysed. The paper focuses on identifying and discussing those areas of research that are robustly reflected by existing studies. Synthetic discussion of the results of research on the most studied carnivore taxa, types of bone assemblages, actualistic approaches, and ecological zones in the region are presented. While the field of actualistic taphonomic research is well-developed in the region, there are several gaps that require more attention for the future investigation.

Download [Restricted Access]

The Taphonomist´s Corner: Regional Taphonomy of cetaceans bones in the “Uttermost part of the earth”.

Florencia Borella.

Keywords

Download [Restricted Access]