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Dhole (Cuon alpinus) as a bone accumulator and new taphonomic agent? The case of Noisetier Cave (French Pyrenees)

Abstract : Noisetier Cave (French Pyrenees) has yielded Mousterian artefacts associated with numerous faunal remains. The faunal spectrum is dominated by chamois and ibex followed by red deer and bovids. A previous taphonomic analysis underlined the occurrence of two distinct types of bone accumulations. The red deer, bovid and a part of the ibex remains have been accumulated by Neanderthal. We suspected that the bearded vultures were responsible for the chamois and some of the ibex remains. The study of the carnivore remains illustrated the abundance of teeth and to a lesser extent bones attributed to both young and adult Cuon alpinus individuals. The identification of shed milk teeth demonstrates that this carnivore used the cave as a nursery den. According to several authors dholes never bring back carcasses to their dens in order to protect their offspring from other carnivores. However they tend to select an area inside their den to defecate. We analysed modern scats of wolf in order to constitute a taphonomic referential. Our results strongly suggest that most of the digested remains from the Noisetier Cave come from dhole scats. This carnivore can be considered, as Binford previously suggested, as a bone accumulator and consequently as a new taphonomic agent. Given the numerous sites where the fossil remains of this carnivore were identified we argue that the dholes could have biased the composition of faunal spectrums and maybe our understanding on human subsistence.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00904491
Contributor : Jean-Baptiste Mallye Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 3:38:11 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, January 8, 2022 - 5:04:02 PM

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  • HAL Id : halshs-00904491, version 1

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Jean-Baptiste Mallye, Sandrine Costamagno, Myriam Boudadi-Maligne, Audrey Prucca, Véronique Laroulandie, et al.. Dhole (Cuon alpinus) as a bone accumulator and new taphonomic agent? The case of Noisetier Cave (French Pyrenees). Journal of Taphonomy, Prometheus Press, S.L. and Universidad Complutense de Madrid Department of Prehistory, 2012, 10 (3-4), pp.305-338. ⟨halshs-00904491⟩

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