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Title: Crocodiles in the diet of the first oldowan toolmakers: evidence from ogs-6 at Gona (Afar, Ethiopia)
Authors: Cáceres, Isabel
Rogers, Michael J.
Semaw, Sileshi
Leiss, Amanda C.
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Institut Català de Paleocologia Humana i Evolució Social (IPHES)
Citation: III Jornadas de Prehistoria Africana, 2017, p. 20
Abstract: Crocodiles have been known for decades to be potential taphonomic agents capable of modifying fossil assemblages. Initial studies were focused on the digestive effects these large reptiles had on consumed bones and teeth. Later, crocodiles were known to be among the taphonomic agents for producing toothmarks on faunal assemblages. Thus, evidence shows that they have always been potential predators of terrestrial mammals, including primates and, of course, hominins. Human-crocodile interaction is not only focused on crocodiles as predators, but also as possible prey. The consumption of crocodiles, together with other aquatic animals such as turtles or fish, provides a diet with nutrients rich in polyunsaturated and Omega 3 fatty acids, highly essential for brain-growth. The consumption by early Homo of these aquatic animals, including crocodiles, around 1.95 Ma is demonstrated at the FwJj20 site in the Koobi Fora Formation (East Turkana, Kenya). In this paper we present evidence that shows hominin exploitation of crocodiles, occurring much earlier around 2.6 Ma ago at OGS-6 (Gona). The presence of cut marks on a fragment of a crocodile skull provides clear evidence of human consumption of meat from aquatic sources. OGS-6 is one of the Gona localities that has produced a clear association of Oldowan stone tools and faunal remains, including cutmarked bones. At OGS-6 no carnivore activity has been observed, but there is evidence of crocodile tooth marks on some faunal remains. Therefore, crocodiles were predators as well as prey. The OGS-6 evidence attests to hominin exploitation of aquatic nutrients in ancient settings, emphasizing the potential implicit benefits that they contributed to the cognitive development of early hominins.
Type: Presentation
Appears in Collections:Congresos, encuentros científicos y estancias de investigación

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