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Title: Computer simulation of scavenging by hominins and giant hyenas in the late Early Pleistocene
Authors: Rodríguez, Jesús
Hölzchen, Ericson
Caso‑Alonso, Ana Isabel
Berndt, Jan Ole
Hertler, Christine
Timm, Ingo J.
Mateos Cachorro, Ana
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Springer Nature
Citation: Scientific Reports, 2023, 13, 14283
Abstract: Consumption of animal-sourced food is an important factor in broadening the diet of early hominins, promoting brain and body growth, and increasing behavioural complexity. However, whether early hominins obtained animal food by scavenging or hunting large mammals remains debated. Sabre-toothed felids have been proposed to facilitate the expansion of early Homo out of Africa into Europe 1.4–0.8 Ma by creating a niche for scavengers in Eurasia as the carcasses abandoned by these felids still contained abundant edible resources. In contrast, it has been argued that the niche for a large scavenger was already occupied in Eurasia by the giant hyena, preventing hominins from utilising this resource. This study shows that sabre-toothed felids generated carcasses rich in edible resources and that hominins were capable of competing with giant hyenas for this resource. The simulation experiments showed that maintaining an optimum group size is essential for the success of the hominin scavenging strategy. Early hominins could outcompete giant hyenas only if they could successfully dispute carcasses with them. Thus, in the presence of a strong competitor, passive scavenging is essentially the same as confrontational scavenging.
ISSN: 2045-2322
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-39776-1
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Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Paleobiología

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