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Carlos Raúl Belotti López de Medina, Lautaro López Geronazzo, Clarisa Otero
This paper reports the results of a zooarchaeological analysis conducted on the occupation layer of a compound structure (Residential Unit 1) of the Pucara de Tilcara archaeological site (Jujuy Province, northwestern Argentina). Its occupation span extends between the 13th and 15th centuries AD, but evidence diagnostic of the Inka Period (AD 1430-1536) is predominant. Residential Unit 1 was a house-workshop that hosted specialized crafts like metallurgy and lapidary during the Inka Period. It was proposed in previous works that artisans living at Pucara de Tilcara were provisioned with agropastoral products by the Inka administration...
2016: PloS One
Frido Welker, Mateja Hajdinjak, Sahra Talamo, Klervia Jaouen, Michael Dannemann, Francine David, Michèle Julien, Matthias Meyer, Janet Kelso, Ian Barnes, Selina Brace, Pepijn Kamminga, Roman Fischer, Benedikt M Kessler, John R Stewart, Svante Pääbo, Matthew J Collins, Jean-Jacques Hublin
In Western Europe, the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition is associated with the disappearance of Neandertals and the spread of anatomically modern humans (AMHs). Current chronological, behavioral, and biological models of this transitional period hinge on the Châtelperronian technocomplex. At the site of the Grotte du Renne, Arcy-sur-Cure, morphological Neandertal specimens are not directly dated but are contextually associated with the Châtelperronian, which contains bone points and beads. The association between Neandertals and this "transitional" assemblage has been controversial because of the lack either of a direct hominin radiocarbon date or of molecular confirmation of the Neandertal affiliation...
October 4, 2016: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Katharina Fietz, Anders Galatius, Jonas Teilmann, Rune Dietz, Anne Kristine Frie, Anastasia Klimova, Per J Palsbøll, Lasse F Jensen, Jeff A Graves, Joseph I Hoffman, Morten Tange Olsen
Identifying the processes that drive changes in the abundance and distribution of natural populations is a central theme in ecology and evolution. Many species of marine mammals have experienced dramatic changes in abundance and distribution due to climatic fluctuations and anthropogenic impacts. However, thanks to conservation efforts, some of these species have shown remarkable population recovery and are now recolonizing their former ranges. Here, we use zooarchaeological, demographic and genetic data to examine processes of colonization, local extinction and recolonization of the two northern European grey seal subspecies inhabiting the Baltic Sea and North Sea...
September 2016: Molecular Ecology
Suzanne E Pilaar Birch, Preston T Miracle, Rhiannon E Stevens, Tamsin C O'Connell
Zooarchaeological and paleoecological investigations have traditionally been unable to reconstruct the ethology of herd animals, which likely had a significant influence on the mobility and subsistence strategies of prehistoric humans. In this paper, we reconstruct the migratory behavior of red deer (Cervus elaphus) and caprids at the Pleistocene-Holocene transition in the northeastern Adriatic region using stable oxygen isotope analysis of tooth enamel. The data show a significant change in δ18O values from the Pleistocene into the Holocene, as well as isotopic variation between taxa, the case study sites, and through time...
2016: PloS One
Jennifer J Crees, Chris Carbone, Robert S Sommer, Norbert Benecke, Samuel T Turvey
The use of short-term indicators for understanding patterns and processes of biodiversity loss can mask longer-term faunal responses to human pressures. We use an extensive database of approximately 18,700 mammalian zooarchaeological records for the last 11,700 years across Europe to reconstruct spatio-temporal dynamics of Holocene range change for 15 large-bodied mammal species. European mammals experienced protracted, non-congruent range losses, with significant declines starting in some species approximately 3000 years ago and continuing to the present, and with the timing, duration and magnitude of declines varying individually between species...
March 30, 2016: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Virginia L Harvey, Victoria M Egerton, Andrew T Chamberlain, Phillip L Manning, Michael Buckley
Collagen is the dominant organic component of bone and is intimately locked within the hydroxyapatite structure of this ubiquitous biomaterial that dominates archaeological and palaeontological assemblages. Radiocarbon analysis of extracted collagen is one of the most common approaches to dating bone from late Pleistocene or Holocene deposits, but dating is relatively expensive compared to other biochemical techniques. Numerous analytical methods have previously been investigated for the purpose of screening out samples that are unlikely to yield reliable dates including histological analysis, UV-stimulated fluorescence and, most commonly, the measurement of percentage nitrogen (%N) and ratio of carbon to nitrogen (C:N)...
2016: PloS One
Emmanuel Discamps, Christopher Stuart Henshilwood
To explain cultural and technological innovations in the Middle Stone Age (MSA) of southern Africa, scholars invoke several factors. A major question in this research theme is whether MSA technocomplexes are adapted to a particular set of environmental conditions and subsistence strategies or, on the contrary, to a wide range of different foraging behaviours. While faunal studies provide key information for addressing these factors, most analyses do not assess intra-technocomplex variability of faunal exploitation (i...
2015: PloS One
Sarah Fiddyment, Bruce Holsinger, Chiara Ruzzier, Alexander Devine, Annelise Binois, Umberto Albarella, Roman Fischer, Emma Nichols, Antoinette Curtis, Edward Cheese, Matthew D Teasdale, Caroline Checkley-Scott, Stephen J Milner, Kathryn M Rudy, Eric J Johnson, Jiří Vnouček, Mary Garrison, Simon McGrory, Daniel G Bradley, Matthew J Collins
Tissue-thin parchment made it possible to produce the first pocket Bibles: Thousands were made in the 13th century. The source of this parchment, often called "uterine vellum," has been a long-standing controversy in codicology. Use of the Latin term abortivum in many sources has led some scholars to suggest that the skin of fetal calves or sheep was used. Others have argued that it would not be possible to sustain herds if so many pocket Bibles were produced from fetal skins, arguing instead for unexpected alternatives, such as rabbit...
December 8, 2015: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Nawa Sugiyama, Andrew D Somerville, Margaret J Schoeninger
From Roman gladiatorial combat to Egyptian animal mummies, the capture and manipulation of carnivores was instrumental in helping to shape social hierarchies throughout the ancient world. This paper investigates the historical inflection point when humans began to control animals not only as alimental resources but as ritual symbols and social actors in the New World. At Teotihuacan (A.D. 1-550), one of the largest pre-Hispanic cities, animal remains were integral components of ritual caches expressing state ideology and militarism during the construction of the Moon and the Sun Pyramids...
2015: PloS One
R Lee Lyman
Zooarchaeological evidence has often been called on to help researchers determine prehistoric relative abundances of elk (Cervus elaphus) in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Some interpret that evidence as indicating elk were abundant; others interpret it as indicating elk were rare. Wildlife biologist Charles Kay argues that prehistoric faunal remains recovered from archaeological sites support his contention that aboriginal hunters depleted elk populations throughout the Intermountain West, including the Yellowstone area...
June 2004: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Ainara Sistiaga, Richard Wrangham, Jessica M Rothman, Roger E Summons
Our understanding of early human diets is based on reconstructed biomechanics of hominin jaws, bone and teeth isotopic data, tooth wear patterns, lithic, taphonomic and zooarchaeological data, which do not provide information about the relative amounts of different types of foods that contributed most to early human diets. Faecal biomarkers are proving to be a valuable tool in identifying relative proportions of plant and animal tissues in Palaeolithic diets. A limiting factor in the application of the faecal biomarker approach is the striking absence of data related to the occurrence of faecal biomarkers in non-human primate faeces...
2015: PloS One
I Girgiri, J O Olopade, A Yahaya
The purpose of this study was to examine the morphometry of the foramen magnum of African four-toed hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris) in Maiduguri. Fourteen hedgehog skulls (7 male and 7 female each) were used for this study. The overall mean value of foramen magnum height and width were 0.51 ± 0.05 cm and 0.64 ± 0.04 cm while occipital condylar and interparacondylar widths were 1.00 ± 0.12 cm and 1.62 ± 0.07 cm, respectively. There was no significant difference between the two sexes. The foramen magnum index was 83...
2015: Folia Morphologica (Warsz)
Tatiana Nomokonova, Robert J Losey, Ol'ga I Goriunova, Alexei G Novikov, Andrzej W Weber
Sagan-Zaba II, a habitation site on the shore of Siberia's Lake Baikal, contains a record of seal hunting that spans much of the Holocene, making it one of the longest histories of seal use in North Asia. Zooarchaeological analyses of the 16,000 Baikal seal remains from this well-dated site clearly show that sealing began here at least 9000 calendar years ago. The use of these animals at Sagan-Zaba appears to have peaked in the Middle Holocene, when foragers used the site as a spring hunting and processing location for yearling and juvenile seals taken on the lake ice...
2015: PloS One
Jennifer A Parkinson, Thomas Plummer, Adam Hartstone-Rose
In recent years there has been much disagreement over the nature of carnivore involvement in Early Pleistocene zooarchaeological assemblages. This partially reflects the lack of reliable ways to identify the taphonomic signatures of different large carnivore taxa. It is often unclear which carnivore taxon or taxa may have played a role in forming or modifying faunal assemblages found associated with stone tools, and this lack of clarity impacts reconstructions of hominin behavior. The mode, frequency and nutritional yield of carcasses acquired by hominins, and the extent to which hominin foraging impinged on or was constrained by the guild of large predators are topics of great importance...
March 2015: Journal of Human Evolution
Geoff M Smith
The recurrent presence at Middle Palaeolithic sites of megafaunal remains, such as mammoth, elephant and rhinoceros, together with isotope analyses signalling meat as a prominent protein source, have been used to argue that these species played a central role in Neanderthal diet. Key to this model are the bone heap horizons from La Cotte de St Brelade (Jersey), which were previously interpreted as game drive debris resulting from systematic Neanderthal hunting. However, this hypothesis has never been rigorously tested, neither at a site-scale, incorporating taphonomic and contextual data, nor at a wider European scale...
January 2015: Journal of Human Evolution
Alexis M Mychajliw, Richard G Harrison
The muskrat, Ondatra zibethicus, is a semiaquatic rodent native to North America that has become a highly successful invader across Europe, Asia, and South America. It can inflict ecological and economic damage on wetland systems outside of its native range. Anecdotal evidence suggests that, in the early 1900s, a population of muskrats was introduced to the Isles of Shoals archipelago, located within the Gulf of Maine, for the purposes of fur harvest. However, because muskrats are native to the northeastern coast of North America, their presence on the Isles of Shoals could be interpreted as part of the native range of the species, potentially obscuring management planning and biogeographic inferences...
2014: PloS One
Benjamin J Schoville, Erik Otárola-Castillo
Zooarchaeologists frequently use the relative abundance of skeletal elements in faunal assemblages in conjunction with foraging theory models to infer subsistence decisions made by prehistoric hunter-gatherers. However, foraging models applied to ethnoarchaeological cases have had variable success linking skeletal transport decisions with foraging predictions. Here, we approach this issue with the well-known Hadza data to statistically model the skeletal element transport decisions in response to distance from the residential hub and the number of carriers available for carcass transport...
August 2014: Journal of Human Evolution
Ainara Sistiaga, Carolina Mallol, Bertila Galván, Roger Everett Summons
Neanderthal dietary reconstructions have, to date, been based on indirect evidence and may underestimate the significance of plants as a food source. While zooarchaeological and stable isotope data have conveyed an image of Neanderthals as largely carnivorous, studies on dental calculus and scattered palaeobotanical evidence suggest some degree of contribution of plants to their diet. However, both views remain plausible and there is no categorical indication of an omnivorous diet. Here we present direct evidence of Neanderthal diet using faecal biomarkers, a valuable analytical tool for identifying dietary provenance...
2014: PloS One
Mary C Stiner, Hijlke Buitenhuis, Güneş Duru, Steven L Kuhn, Susan M Mentzer, Natalie D Munro, Nadja Pöllath, Jay Quade, Georgia Tsartsidou, Mihriban Özbaşaran
Aşıklı Höyük is the earliest known preceramic Neolithic mound site in Central Anatolia. The oldest Levels, 4 and 5, spanning 8,200 to approximately 9,000 cal B.C., associate with round-house architecture and arguably represent the birth of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic in the region. Results from upper Level 4, reported here, indicate a broad meat diet that consisted of diverse wild ungulate and small animal species. The meat diet shifted gradually over just a few centuries to an exceptional emphasis on caprines (mainly sheep)...
June 10, 2014: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Greger Larson, Dolores R Piperno, Robin G Allaby, Michael D Purugganan, Leif Andersson, Manuel Arroyo-Kalin, Loukas Barton, Cynthia Climer Vigueira, Tim Denham, Keith Dobney, Andrew N Doust, Paul Gepts, M Thomas P Gilbert, Kristen J Gremillion, Leilani Lucas, Lewis Lukens, Fiona B Marshall, Kenneth M Olsen, J Chris Pires, Peter J Richerson, Rafael Rubio de Casas, Oris I Sanjur, Mark G Thomas, Dorian Q Fuller
It is difficult to overstate the cultural and biological impacts that the domestication of plants and animals has had on our species. Fundamental questions regarding where, when, and how many times domestication took place have been of primary interest within a wide range of academic disciplines. Within the last two decades, the advent of new archaeological and genetic techniques has revolutionized our understanding of the pattern and process of domestication and agricultural origins that led to our modern way of life...
April 29, 2014: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
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