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Title: The role of carnivores and their relationship to hominin settlements in the TD6-2 level from Gran Dolina (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain)
Authors: Saladié Ballesté, Palmira
Rodríguez-Hidalgo, Antonio
Huguet Pàmies, Rosa
Cáceres, Isabel
Díez Fernández-Lomana, Juan Carlos
Vallverdú Poch, Josep
Canals Salomó, Antoni
Soto, María
Santander, Boris
Bermúdez de Castro, José María
Arsuaga, Juan Luis
Carbonell, Eudald
Keywords: Carnivore tooth marks;Human tooth marks;Carnivore ravaging;Competition;Cannibalism
Issue Date: Jun-2014
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Quaternary Science Reviews, 2014, 93, 47-66
Abstract: Pleistocene level TD6-2 of the Gran Dolina site (Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain) is the result of anthropogenic accumulation. Hominin groups occupied the cave as a home base, where they brought in, butchered and consumed the carcasses of ungulates and other hominins. In this paper, we reassess the role of carnivores in the formation and/or modification of the assemblage. We employed different methods to explore the scenario in which the TD6-2 assemblage was formed: (1) identifying the actor responsible for tooth marks; (2) determining the frequency of carnivore tooth marks and their distribution; (3) identifying the co-occurrence of modifications (butchering marks and carnivore tooth marks); (4) calculating the percentage of change and the epiphysis to shaft ratio. Carnivore tooth marks are scarce, as is the co-occurrence of hominin and carnivore modifications. However, not all tooth marks have been attributed to a particular agent due to the high equifinality between human and carnivore tooth marks. For these reasons, the frequency of tooth marks and the co-occurrence of modifications have been of little help in interpreting the role of carnivores. Axial skeletal remains and the epiphyses of the long bones are in large part missing. The percentage of change and the epiphysis to shaft ratio suggest moderate carnivore ravaging activity. Our data indicate that the role of carnivores in TD6-2 seems to have had an impact on the original assemblage after hominins had extracted a large amount of nutrients from the carcasses. Cannibalized hominin remains showed no carnivore tooth marks and have a greater presence of low survival bones compared to ungulate remains. These findings point to a different taphonomic history suggesting that TD6-2 represents a succession of settlements having different characteristics.
ISSN: 0277-3791
DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.04.001
Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Paleobiología

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