Volumen 5. Number 1. Year 2007.

2019-11-06T22:36:42+02:00October 26th, 2019|Volumen 5. Number 1. Year 2007.|

VOLUME 5. NUMBER 1. 2007

Micromammals: When Humans are the Hunters.

Genevieve Dewar, Antonietta Jerardino.


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

David K. Ferguson


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Volumen 10. Number 2. Year 2012.

2019-11-06T22:59:52+02:00October 26th, 2019|Volumen 10. Number 2. Year 2012.|

VOLUME 10. NUMBER 2. 2012

Can Colour Be Used as a Proxy for Paleoenvironmental Reconstructions Based on Archaeological Bones? El Harhoura 2 (Morocco) Case Study.

Yannicke Dauphin, Roland Nespoulet, Emmanuelle Stoetzel, Mohamed Abdeljalil el Hajraoui, Christiane Denys.


[+info] VOLUME 10. NUMBERS 2. 2012 (1 issue)

The El Harhoura 2 cave (Temara region, Morocco) has yielded abundant micromammal remains. Eleven sedimentary layers have been identified in the Late Pleistocene-Middle Holocene series. Rodent bones show various colours from white to black. Conodont colour alteration index is a widely used technique for assessing maturation and diagenesis. Despite fossil and archaeological bones may be black due to mineral staining (manganese) or burning, a similar index does not exist. We perform colour measurements in the visible light of the external surface of archaeological Meriones bones. Specific wavelengths were then selected for multivariate statistical analyses to try to characterize and differentiate the sedimentary layers. In this preliminary study, the origin of the colour is not yet known, despite some spots are Mn deposits. In the future, we hope that colour measurement, a non destructive analysis, will be used as a taphonomic index to estimate the state of preservation and history of fossil and archaeological sites.

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Recent Indian Porcupine (Hystrix indica) Burrows and their Impact on Ancient Faunal and Human Remains: A Case Study from Tel Zahara (Israel).

Liora Kolska Horwitz, Susan L. Cohen, Wieslaw Wi?ckowski, Henk K. Mienis, Jill Baker, Emilia Jastrzebska.


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

It has long been known that porcupines accumulate and modify bones, but few actualistic studies on the contents of porcupine burrows have been undertaken. Here we present the results of an investigation of recent Indian porcupine (Hystrix indica) burrows that riddle the archaeological site of Tel Zahara (Israel). Faunal remains were recovered from the den entrances and inside a burrow system that we excavated. Bones exhibiting typical porcupine gnaw-damage i.e., flat-bottomed parallel grooves, were recovered from all dens, but no clear porcupine damage was evident on human osteological remains that were encountered by the porcupines during excavation of their dens. The surface patina of many of the bones is dark, signifying long-term burial, and is probably indicative of their archaeological origin. Porcupine gnawed areas on these bones are lighter in colour and so post-date the patina. Compared to the Roman period deposits on the tel, the den assemblage contains significantly higher numbers of wild taxa, a lower proportion of large-sized taxa, but a similar proportion of bones of medium-sized taxa, suggesting preferential selection of smaller-sized bones. Both tel and den deposits comprise similar frequencies of burnt bones and body part breakdowns are alike. As expected, higher frequencies of rodent and carnivore gnawed bones were found in the den samples. The results suggest that the porcupine burrow sample is a selected sub-set of the Roman faunal assemblage from the tel. This study has led us to conclude that the Indian porcupine plays a significant role as an agent of bioturbation of archaeological sediments and also as a collector and modifier of bones.

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With Only One Flake. An Experiment About the Possibilities of Processing a Carcass with Flint during Hunting.

Santiago David Domínguez-Solera.


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

Inspired on the present Inuit hunting techniques, a small experiment was designed to estimate the extent of butchery that could be carried out with only one flint flake in the process of preparing a female fallow deer (Dama dama) for transportation. The results are useful to understand the potential and economy of flint flakes in prehistoric times.

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The Taphonomist´s Corner: Out-of-water shells.

Juan Carlos Braga


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