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Dominguez-Rodrigo M.,IDEA Institute Evolucion en africa | Dominguez-Rodrigo M.,Complutense University of Madrid | Martinez-Navarro B.,Rovira i Virgili University
Journal of Human Evolution | Year: 2012

The A.L. 894 site (Hadar, Ethiopia) is, together with OGS 7 (Gona, Ethiopia), one of the oldest archaeological sites documenting a spatial association of stone tools and bones retrieved from an in situ excavation. In contrast with OGS 7, the better preservation of the bone assemblage at A.L. 894 allows the identification of taphonomic processes of bone breakage, thanks to abundant green bone fractures. The presence of tooth marks and the lack of hominin-produced bone modifications together argue against hominins as the responsible agents for bone accumulation and modification. This taphonomic study of A.L. 894 shows lack of evidence for functional associations between stone tools and bones, a pattern documented in several other early Pleistocene sites. Such a pattern underscores the complex phenomena involved in site formation processes, especially in the earliest archaeological assemblages. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Dominguez-Rodrigo M.,IDEA Institute Evolucion en africa | Dominguez-Rodrigo M.,Complutense University of Madrid | Bunn H.T.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Yravedra J.,Complutense University of Madrid
Quaternary International | Year: 2014

Over the past three decades, controversial interpretations of the behavioral meaning of bone surface modifications at FLK Zinj regarding primary or secondary access to carcasses by hominins have stemmed from the independent use of mark types (cut, percussion, and tooth marks) to evaluate opposing models. Such controversy has also been based on an over-reliance on tooth mark frequencies (mostly generated by non-hominin carnivores), which have been documented to be high when hyenids are primary bone modifiers, low when felids have primary access to carcasses, and high when suids feed primarily or secondarily on carcass parts. In addition, it has also been argued that the frequency of tooth marks on the FLK Zinj bones has been overidentified by some researchers, by mistaking tooth marks with biochemical marks created by plant roots. Some methodological approaches have hampered the use of cut marks to identify hominin behavior. Most of the reasons for purported equifinality of experimental scenarios are strictly methodological and are also caused by the separate rather than joint analysis of mark types. In the present work, for the first time cut marks, tooth marks, and percussion marks will be jointly analyzed, both experimentally and at FLK Zinj. Primary and secondary access to carcasses by hominins yields different frequency associations of all of these marks, which can be diagnostic of the type of access. Such mark-type relationships can only be detected when all mark types are analyzed simultaneously and not as separate sets. This multivariate approach provides a robust interpretation of primary access to carcasses by hominins at FLK Zinj. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.

Cobo-Sanchez L.,Complutense University of Madrid | Aramendi J.,Complutense University of Madrid | Dominguez-Rodrigo M.,Complutense University of Madrid | Dominguez-Rodrigo M.,IDEA Institute Evolucion en africa
Quaternary International | Year: 2014

A study of bone orientation patterns at a wildebeest bonebed deposited in the floodplain of Lake Masek (Tanzania) shows that portions of the assemblage exhibit anisotropy probably caused by the combined action of lake transgression and regression, and the watersheet formed during the rainy season, which is also responsible for a large part of the microtopographical features of the surface where the bonebed was formed. Some taphonomic indicators (absence of polished or abraded bone, similar representation of Voorhies' anatomical groups I and III) show that the anisotropic trend was formed under very low-energy conditions. Anisotropy can be locally produced in autochthonous assemblages. Bone orientation patterns need to be combined with other taphonomic techniques to determine the depositional nature of any given assemblage. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.

Gidna A.O.,IDEA Institute Evolucion en africa | Gidna A.O.,Paleontology Unit | Kisui B.,African Wildlife Foundation | Mabulla A.,University of Dar es Salaam | And 3 more authors.
Quaternary International | Year: 2014

Actualistic observations on modern lions (Panthera leo) from Tarangire National Park (Tanzania) have expanded the reported range of carcass consumption behaviors by these felids. The present study confirms that lions efficiently deflesh small and medium-sized carcasses and they can even thoroughly deflesh carcasses heavier than 500 kg, such as those of buffaloes. Ecology plays a major role in the intensity with which lions deflesh their prey. The most intensive carcass consumption episodes in Tarangire were documented in alluvial environments near water. Bone damage is proportional to the intensity of carcass consumption and upper limb bones, usually the most defleshed elements, are also the most heavily damaged. Butchery experiments with stone tools modelling secondary access to lion kills yielded a low cut mark frequency with an anatomical distribution of cut marks occurring more frequently on intermediate than on upper limb bones and on ends and metadiaphyses than on mid-shafts. The combination of the damage inflicted by lions on bones and the occurrence of cut marks as the result of secondary-access butchery by humans provides a heuristic framework with which to understand similar patterns in the archaeological record. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.

Barboni D.,Aix - Marseille University | Ashley G.M.,Rutgers University | Dominguez-Rodrigo M.,IDEA Institute Evolucion en africa | Dominguez-Rodrigo M.,Complutense University of Madrid | And 3 more authors.
Quaternary Research | Year: 2010

The phytolith content of 10 samples collected immediately under Tuff IF (~. 1.785. Ma) at FLK N and other surrounding localities (~. 2. km2) provides a direct botanical evidence for woody vegetation in the eastern margin of Olduvai Gorge during uppermost Bed I time. Observation and counting of 143 phytolith types (5 to >150 μ) reveal dense but heterogeneous woody cover (~. 40-90%) of unidentified trees and/or shrubs and palms associated to the freshwater springs surrounding FLK N, and more open formation (presumably ~. 25-70% woody cover) in the southeast at localities VEK, HWK W and HWK E. The paleovegetation is best described as groundwater palm forest/woodland or bushland, which current analogue may be found near Lake Manyara in similar hydrogeological context (freshwater springs near saline/alkaline lake). Re-evaluating the published pollen data based on this analogy shows that 70% of the pollen signal at FLK N may be attributed to thicket-woodland, Acacia groundwater woodland, gallery and groundwater forests; while < 30% is attributed to swamp herbage and grasslands. Micro-botanical, isotopic, and taphonomical studies of faunal remains converge on the same conclusion that the area surrounding FLK N, which attracted both carnivores and hominins in the early Pleistocene, was densely wooded during uppermost Bed I time. © 2010 University of Washington.

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