FAUNAL ANALYSIS

Volumen 2. Number 1-4. Year 2004.

2019-11-06T21:35:40+02:00October 26th, 2019|Volumen 2. Number 1-4. Year 2004.|

VOLUME 2. NUMBERS 1-4. 2004 [Special volume on Debating Issues of Equifinality in Ungulate Skeletal Part Studies. N. D. Munro & G. Bar-Oz (eds.)]

Debating Issues of Equifinality in Ungulate Skeletal Part Studies.

Natalie D. Munro, G. Bar-Oz.

Keywords: TAPHONOMY, EQUIFINALITY, SKELETAL PART STUDIES

[+info] VOLUME 2. NUMBERS 1-4. 2004 (1 issue)

This paper introduces a collection of 11 papers originally presented in a symposium held at the 2004 meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. The papers debate and propose solutions for multiple aspects of equifinality in ungulate skeletal part studies and focus on four primary themes: (1) theoretical issues of equifinality; (2) methods for generating skeletal part frequencies; (3) the tools for analyzing skeletal part frequencies; and (4) attritional biases caused by natural and cultural taphonomic agents. Although debate continues over the methods used to quantify and analyze ungulate skeletal parts, most participants agree on the need for detailed publication of raw bone portion counts and bone portion coding and quantification methods.

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The Concept of Equifinality in Taphonomy.

R. Lee Lyman.

Keywords: CLASSIFICATION, CLOSED SYSTEM, EQUIFINALITY, LUDWIG VON BERTALANFFY, OPEN SYSTEM, QUANTIFICATION

[+info] VOLUME 2. NUMBERS 1-4. 2004 (2 issue)

The term "equifinality" was coined by Ludwig von Bertalanffy as he worked to develop general system theory. In 1949 he defined equifinality as reaching the "same final state from different initial states" in an open system, one capable of "exchanging materials with its environment." Taphonomists have typically defined equifinality as reaching the same final state from different initial conditions and in different ways, without consideration of whether a system was open or closed. Natural historical processes involving organic tissues comprise open systems. Whether two alternate taphonomic hypotheses can be distinguished or not can be construed as a problem of taphonomic equifinality, or it can be construed as a problem of statistical indistinguishability. For both, the epistemological problem reduces to one of classification. The production of much greater knowledge and understanding of the many reasons (cause-effect relations) why skeletal part frequencies vary has resulted from use of the equifinality concept because that concept demands innovative analyses of previously unimagined variables.

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Measuring Skeletal Part Representation in Archaeological Faunas.

Donald K. Grayson, Carol J. Frey.

Keywords: ELANDSFONTEIN, KOBEH CAVE, ROND-DU-BARRY, TAPHONOMY, ZOOARCHAEOLOGY

[+info] VOLUME 2. NUMBERS 1-4. 2004 (3 issue)

Most analyses of relative skeletal abundances in archaeological contexts are based on units derived, in one way or another, from the number of identified specimens (NISP): the minimum number of elements (MNE), the "minimal animal unit" (MAU), and the skeletal-element based minimum number of individuals (MNI). MNE values can be interpreted as if they were the results of a sampling exercise, telling us the chances that specimens drawn from a population of NISP values match in some specified way. Since this is the case, MNE values should scale to the NISPs for the body part involved. Since MAUs are generally calculated by standardizing MNE values by the number of times the part occurs in the skeleton, and MNIs by a combination of this and both age- and side-matching, there should be a very predictable relationship between the values of NISP, MNE, MAU, and MNI within any given assemblage. Using a series of assemblages from South Africa, Iran, and France, we show that this is, in fact, the case.

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Distinguishing Selective Transport and In Situ Attrition: A Critical Review of Analytical Approaches.

Naomi Cleghorn, Curtis W. Marean.

Keywords: SKELETAL ELEMENT ANALYSIS, EQUIFINALITY, BONE DENSITY, CARNIVORE RAVAGING

[+info] VOLUME 2. NUMBERS 1-4. 2004 (4 issue)

Skeletal element frequencies are at once enticing sources of behavioral information and thorny taphonomic dilemmas. Many archaeofaunal assemblages combine some degree of selective transport and in situ attrition, both of which affect the relative representation of elements. In addition, some analytical methods may add their own signature, further complicating the analysis of the element profile (Marean et al., this volume). Three methods have been applied to the problem of distinguishing attrition from selective transport: the Anatomical Region Profile (ARP), the Analysis of Bone Counts by Maximum Likelihood (ABCML), and the high and low survival element set model. We find that the ARP technique fails to perform as suggested. The ABCML is an innovative and promising line of inquiry, but is currently limited by methodological and theoretical shortcomings. The high and low survival set model appears to be an effective approach to analysis, but the actualistic tests of its power are still limited. We conclude that sensitivity to the issue of differential intra-element survival is key to future research into this problem.

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Skeletal Element Equifinality in Zooarchaeology Begins with Method: The Evolution and Status of the “Shaft Critique”.

Curtis W. Marean, Manuel Domínguez-Rodrigo, Travis Rayne Pickering.

Keywords: EQUIFINALITY, SKELETAL PART PROFILES, LIMB BONE SHAFTS, LIMB BONE ENDS, MINIMUM NUMBER OF ELEMENTS

[+info] VOLUME 2. NUMBERS 1-4. 2004 (5 issue)

The most common pattern of skeletal part representation described for zooarchaeological assemblages is a head-dominated or head and foot-dominated sample (Type II assemblages). Although an important early study by C.K. Brain (1969) suggested strongly that such a pattern might be mediated by skeleton-wide variation in bone density, this conclusion was under-appreciated for nearly twenty years. Instead, a majority of researchers working on Type II assemblages that are widely separated by geography and archaeological time argued in each case that the pattern was a by-product of foraging strategies used by hominins. In response, a small group of researchers expanded on Brain's pioneering work, concluding that the Type II pattern is actually instead a methodological artifact caused by (1) a combination of taphonomic factors that selectively destroy bone portions based on relative density and (2) analytical procedures that subsequently selectively bias against those same bone portions. Here we discuss in detail specific methodological and data recording recommendations that should eliminate the identified analytical problems and assist zooarchaeologists in assessing the degree of bias in the published work of other researchers.

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The Fallibility of Bone Density Values and Their Use in Archaeological Analyses.

Y. M. Lam, O. M. Pearson.

Keywords: ZOOARCHAEOLOGY, TAPHONOMY, ATTRITION, FAUNAL ANALYSIS, BONE DENSITY

[+info] VOLUME 2. NUMBERS 1-4. 2004 (6 issue)

As a proxy measure of resistance to destructive processes, bone density has played a central role in the discussion of equifinality and faunal representation. Bone density data sets have been derived for a diverse range of species, providing zooarchaeologists with a framework for assessing the occurrence of density-mediated destructive processes. These data sets vary tremendously in accuracy. In addition, the representation of the density of a bone portion as a single number -while convenient for quantitative analyses- obscures by oversimplification the many factors that affect the derivation of density values, a complicated process subject to multiple potential sources of variation and error. Density data sets and methods of quantitative analysis must be chosen with care, and the reasons for these choices made explicit. At the same time, it must be recognized that, despite the amount of attention that it has received, density is only one of many variables that affect the ability of a bone to restrict destruction.

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A Comparison of Photon Densitometry and Computed Tomography Parameters of Bone Density in Ungulate Body Part Profiles.

Mary C. Stiner.

Keywords: DENSITY-MEDIATED BONE ATTRITION, TAPHONOMY, ZOOARCHAEOLOGY, VERTEBRATE BODY PART PROFILES, PHOTON DENSITOMETRY, COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY

[+info] VOLUME 2. NUMBERS 1-4. 2004 (7 issue)

Biases in ungulate body part representation in archaeofaunas potentially reflect human foraging decisions. However, the signatures of density-mediated attrition of body parts and human selectivity in response to nutritional content can overlap to a significant extent. Zooarchaeologists' techniques for analyzing skeletal representation for density-dependent biases must either address differential resistance among distinct skeletal macro-tissue classes, or compare skeletal representation within a narrower density range that is widely distributed in the skeleton. This presentation examines the potential comparability of bone density parameters obtained by photon densitometry (PD) and computed tomography (CT) within limb elements and across regions of the whole skeleton. "Unadjusted" parameters obtained by PD and CT techniques are in reasonably good agreement, and these parameters yield similar results when applied to patterns of skeletal representation in Mediterranean faunas generated by Paleolithic humans and Pleistocene spotted hyenas. More significant than the technique for measuring density in modern mammal skeletons is whether the density parameter values have been adjusted, arguably to compensate for problems of shape and the presence of large internal voids in limb bone tubes. The results of systematic comparison of density parameter variation among published sources, and their application to prehistoric cases accumulated by diverse agents, contradict the great preservation differential between spongy and compact bone specimens suggested by certain captive hyena experiments and the Mousterian fauna from Kobeh Cave (Iran). Only the adjustments made to the CT parameters for limb shafts (BMD2) accommodate the latter cases.

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Equifinality, Assemblage Integrity and Behavioral Inferences at Verberie.

James G. Enloe.

Keywords: TAPHONOMY, BONE DENSITY, EQUIFINALITY, UPPER PALEOLITHIC, VERBERIE, REINDEER

[+info] VOLUME 2. NUMBERS 1-4. 2004 (8 issue)

Body part representation is often used to identify site function, particularly transport to or transport from kill sites. Taphonomic research has indicated that a number of pre- and post-depositional agencies can result in similar part representation, largely a function of bone density, which can be measured in a variety of ways. A number of procedures for measuring bone density are discussed and applied to a late Upper Paleolithic faunal assemblage from Verberie, France. Comparisons of those densities with percent survivorship of reindeer bones from the archaeological site indicate that density-mediated attrition, most commonly associated with equifinality, is not primarily responsible for the skeletal element representation. A reverse bulk utility curve suggests that high and medium nutritional value skeletal elements were removed from this hunting site for subsequent processing and consumption elsewhere.

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Applied Models and Indices vs. High-Resolution, Observed Data: Detailed Fracture and Fragmentation Analyses for the Investigation of Skeletal Part Abundance Patterns.

Alan K. Outram.

Keywords: BONE FRACTURE, FRAGMENTATION, BONE MINERAL DENSITY, FOOD UTILITY INDICES, SKELETAL PART ABUNDANCE

[+info] VOLUME 2. NUMBERS 1-4. 2004 (9 issue)

The history and development of skeletal part abundance studies is briefly discussed. Two principal strands of this sub-discipline are the application of indices of food utility and bone mineral density to the interpretation of skeletal part abundance patterns. Both food utility and bone mineral density indices are derived from modern observations, underwritten by uniformitarian assumptions, and are used to model behavioural and taphonomic patterns in the selection and survival of bone elements. The application of such models is critiqued. It is argued that, whilst such models remain extremely valuable, they will always suffer from equifinality with regard to end interpretations. The solution to this problem does not lie in improving these models, or the data they derive from, though this may be desirable, but in the more time-consuming option of improving the resolution of archaeologically observed data. Several ways of doing this are briefly discussed. One of these options, fracture and fragmentation analysis, is outlined in detail. Sample applications of such an approach are presented and discussed. These include the use of fracture and fragmentation analysis to identify specific practices that can severely skew skeletal part abundances, such as bone grease rendering, and the identification of levels of pre-depositional and post-depositional fracturing within the taphonomic history of bone assemblages.

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The Derivation and Application of White-Tailed Deer Utility Indices and Return Rates.

T. Cregg Madrigal.

Keywords: DEER, UTILITY INDICES, BODY PART REPRESENTATION, MARROW, NORTH AMERICA

[+info] VOLUME 2. NUMBERS 1-4. 2004 (10 issue)

Utility indices have long been used to interpret ungulate body part representation at archaeological sites. The use of return rates, which are a more appropriate measure for studies of foraging efficiency, have been used less frequently. Until recently, zooarchaeologists interested in the prehistoric use of white-tailed deer were forced to use utility indices developed from other species. In this paper, the derivation and application of utility indices and return rates for white-tailed deer are discussed and two recently derived white-tailed deer utility indices are compared.

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Beyond Cautionary Tales: A Multivariate Taphonomic Approach for Resolving Equifinality in Zooarchaeological Studies.

Guy Bar-Oz, Natalie D. Munro.

Keywords: TAPHONOMY, SKELETAL PART REPRESENTATION, EQUIFINALITY, MULTIVARIATE APPROACH, GAZELLE, EPIPALEOLITHIC, LEVANT, GREASE AND MARROW PROCESSING; DENSITY-MEDIATED ATTRITION

[+info] VOLUME 2. NUMBERS 1-4. 2004 (11 issue)

We describe a multivariate approach that reconstructs the taphonomic histories of zooarchaeological assemblages. The approach applies a sequence of zooarchaeological analyses to bone assemblages to determine the most significant agents of assemblage formation. By examining the differential survivorship of bones from subgroups within an assemblage, problems of equifinality in skeletal part studies can be overcome. The multivariate approach follows three primary analytical stages including: a) a descriptive stage that summarizes the representation of key taphonomic variables of each assemblage; b) an analytical stage that investigates the completeness and fragmentation of skeletal parts; and c) a comparative stage that evaluates taphonomic variation amongst subgroups within a zooarchaeological assemblage. In a case study of six Epipaleolithic assemblages from the southern Levant, the multivariate approach reveals that intensive bone processing by humans for marrow and possibly grease was the primary determinant of gazelle bone survivorship, while small game taxa experienced independent taphonomic histories.

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Body Part Representation and Seasonality: Sheep/Goat, Bird and Fish Remains From Early Neolithic Ecsegfalva 23, SE Hungary.

Anne Pike-Tay , László Bartosiewicz, Erika Gál, Alasdair Whittle.

Keywords: SEASONALITY, EQUIFINALITY, BODY PART REPRESENTATION, TAPHONOMY, SKELETOCHRONOLOGY, ZOOARCHAEOLOGY, KÖRÖS CULTURE, NEOLITHIC HUNGARY

[+info] VOLUME 2. NUMBERS 1-4. 2004 (12 issue)

Assessments of site seasonality have increasingly relied upon three methods: 1) the presence or absence of seasonally available fauna, the oldest, most widely-used approach; 2) the population structure method, which relies upon the seasonal variation in the age and sex composition of the animals exploited; and 3) techniques such as skeletochronology or dental growth-increment studies. With all three methods, issues of equifinality result from the variability in body part representation. Cultural actions such as differential transport, modes of butchery, storage and culinary practices, in addition, natural taphonomic agents, also result in uneven body part representation, which can lead to false seasonal patterns. The consonance between different seasonality data for caprines and fish suggest that spring to fall occupations must have played a serious role in shaping the Neolithic animal bone deposits from Ecsegfalva 23, Hungary. Tooth sectioning data on caprines add late winter to this time interval. Finally, the broad seasonal spectrum of avian remains is potentially indicative of a year-round occupation.

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Volumen 4. Number 2. Year 2006.

2019-11-06T21:39:50+02:00October 26th, 2019|Volumen 4. Number 2. Year 2006.|

VOLUME 4. NUMBER 2. 2006

Evidence of High-Frequency Storm Disturbance in the Middle Devonian Arkona Shale, Southwestern Ontario.

Cameron J. Tsujita, Carlton E. Brett, Michael Topor, John Topor.

Keywords: MUDROCK (SHALE), STORM DEPOSITION, EVENT STRATIGRAPHY, DEVONIAN,
SHELL BEDS, TAPHONOMY

[+info] VOLUME 4. NUMBERS 2. 2006 (1 issue)

The importance of storms as agents of deposition and erosion is obvious in many ancient offshore marine
successions. Indeed, storm-generated shell beds are among the most prominent small-scale features in
otherwise monotonous successions, particularly those dominated by mudstones. Shell beds are usually
interpreted as products of rare episodes of storm-generated disturbance punctuating long periods (tens, to
hundreds, to thousands of years) of quiescence, the shell beds representing storms of greatest severity.
The taphonomic attributes of shell beds in the Middle Devonian Arkona Shale (southwestern
Ontario) indicate that even “simple” shell beds can have complex histories. Shell-rich beds dominated by
well-preserved remains of small rugose corals, spiriferid brachiopods, and a variety of crinoids, are
commonly associated with pavements of shell debris reworked by earlier storms. Taphonomic dissection
of five examples, informally called the lower Arthroacantha bed, the in situ Mucrospirifer bed, the upper
Arthroacantha bed, the auloporid bed, and the Microcyclus bed, reveals a common theme; initial priming
of the seafloor by one or more storms, was followed by colonization of the primed substrate by shelly
benthic fauna which, in turn, was followed by final disturbance and burial of the faunal remains by a later
storm.
For storms to have produced multiple signatures in single shell beds of the Arkona Shale, the
frequencies of seafloor disturbance must have been very high, probably on the order of a few years.
Such frequencies are much higher than those implied by stratigraphic occurrences of conspicuous shell beds
(i.e., without considering internal features of the shell beds). This implies that individual shell beds do
not necessarily represent the most severe storms recorded in mudstone successions but can, in some
cases, merely represent the most obvious products of storm disturbance by virtue of their shell content.
Regardless of storm severity, the disturbance of a muddy seafloor lacking abundant shell material would
produce an indistinct mud-on-mud contact that would be much less likely to be noticed than a shell-rich
horizon. By the same token, both low-magnitude (but high-frequency) storms and high magnitude (but
low-frequency) storms can produce shell beds, provided that sufficient shell material is available for
reworking. Obviously, the key to the formation of shell-rich horizon is an abundance of shelly material
on the seafloor. For this, a cause other than storm deposition must be sought; in most cases, these beds
also record interludes of relative sediment starvation and increased seafloor oxygenation.
Interpretations of storm severity from storm-generated shell beds should therefore be approached with
caution and be considered in context of the faunal dynamics and depositional characteristics of a
sedimentary succession as a whole.

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The Taphonomy of Owl-Deposited Fish Remains and the Origin of the Homestead Cave Ichthyofauna.

Jack M. Broughton, Virginia I. Cannon, Shannon Arnold, Raymond J. Bogiatto, Kevin Dalton.

Keywords: BARN OWL, FISH REMAINS, GREAT BASIN, HOMESTEAD CAVE, OWL PELLETS, RAPTOR DEPOSITS, TAPHONOMY, TUI CHUB

[+info] VOLUME 4. NUMBERS 2. 2006 (2 issue)

We report a case of fish prey dominating the diet of modern barn owls (Tyto alba) and conduct a
descriptive taphonomic analysis on the fish remains the owls deposited. From a sample of 14 barn owl
pellets collected on the floor of a Nevada barn, we identified 3294 tui chub (Gila bicolor) bones. These
remains, derived from very small-sized fish, comprised nearly 90% of the total pellet NISP and were
characterized by relatively complete skeletal part representation, and minimal bone fragmentation and
digestive surface damage. We use this data-set, along with tui chub samples deposited by other agents,
to evaluate the origin of fish remains derived from late Quaternary deposits of Homestead Cave, located
in the northern Bonneville Basin, Utah. Quantitative comparisons of skeletal part representation and
digestive damage show that the Homestead Cave fish assemblage is statistically indistinguishable from
the owl-derived collection but different from chub samples originating from coyote (Canis latrans) scat
and human faeces. Qualitative evaluations of other agents also suggest an owl-based origin of the fauna.
Our analysis calls attention to the important role that owls can play in depositing fish in caves and
rockshelters and provides useful information to researchers interested in deciphering the taphonomic
history of fish remains recovered from these settings around the world.

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Success in Identification of Experimentally Fragmented Limb Bone Shafts: Implications for Estimates of Skeletal Element Abundance in Archaeofaunas.

Travis R. Pickering, Charles P. Egeland, Amy G. Schnell, Daniel L. Osborne, Jake Enk.

Keywords: FAUNAL ANALYSIS, ZOOARCHAEOLOGICAL ASSEMBLAGES, SKELETAL PART FREQUENCY, HINDLIMBS, DIAPHYSES, CROSS-SECTIONAL GEOMETRY

[+info] VOLUME 4. NUMBERS 2. 2006 (3 issue)

A strong pattern of high hindlimb representation (especially tibiae) was recognized in our survey of
zooarchaeological analyses that included limb bone shafts in estimates of element abundance in
assemblages from the Old and New Worlds, from widely spread time periods and with various hominid
species that acted as bone accumulators. Inter-element differences in bone mineral density and carcass
transport behavior by hominids do not explain the pattern satisfactorily. We hypothesized that shaft
fragments of hindlimb elements (especially tibiae) might be more “intrinsically identifiable” than are
fragments from other limb bones, and constructed an experiment to test this idea. Whole limb bones
were sectioned into shaft fragments of various sizes using a bandsaw. An experienced faunal analyst
(TRP), who was uninvolved in the bone selection and preparation, was required to identify the fragments
as accurately as possible to specific skeletal element. Identification bouts were divided into 14 individual
sorts, each consisting of 24 randomly assigned specimens. Sorts were constructed to replicate an
increasing degree of communition across three stages: two “Stage I” sorts contain large specimens, four
“Stage II” sorts contain smaller specimens and eight “Stage III” sorts contain the smallest specimens.
Refitting and guessing were not allowed and fragments identified to a non-element-specific category
(i.e.: upper limb segment, humerus or femur; intermediate limb segment, radius or tibia; lower limb
segment, metacarpal or metatarsal; limb bone shaft only) were not counted as a correct identification.
Of 336 total specimens, 195 (58.0 %) were correctly identified to element. Overall, the differences in
proportions of skeletally identified fragments for all six elements are not statistically significant. This
finding seemingly falsifies the hypothesis that shaft fragments from hindlimb elements (especially
tibiae) are more intrinsically identifiable than are fragments of other limb bones. However, our study
also highlights the need for additional testing of the hypothesis since most actual archaeofaunas preserve
many more specimens with complete or nearly complete diaphyseal circumference than does our
experimental sample, which is composed entirely of specimens with preserving <50 % of their original
circumferences. Our results suggest that bone specimen cross-sectional information, mostly lacking in
the experimental sample but not in real archaeofaunas, is one of the most important classes of data on
which accurate identification of shaft fragments are made.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Amy G. Egeland, Charles P. Egeland.

Keywords

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