Animal bones comprise a significant segment of the archaeological record. However, they undergo major biostratinomic and diagenetic alterations caused by physical, biological and cultural agents over a period of thousands of years from the time of the organism’s death to its recovery in a skeletal form in an excavation. Among various biological factors, large and small carnivores, both domestic and wild, impact bones of their food source with diagnostic patterns of damage by the action of their teeth, nails, claws and trampling by feet. These signatures of carnivore bone modifications can sometimes be discerned in the archaeofaunal remains. In order to enlarge upon the existing knowledge/database of carnivore feeding behaviour and to formulate a more precise identification criteria to distinguish them from other parallel taphonomic signatures, greater number of actualistic investigations are required. The present paper deals with the objectives, methodology, observations and results of a controlled experiment in two chosen zoological parks in India where the chewing/gnawing behaviour of select large cats and hyenas was conducted. The leftover bones were collected from the cages, buried for further decomposition and recovered after six months. A detailed examination of teeth marks (such as pitting, puncturing, scouring, scooping and gouging) on them yielded a regular and anticipated alteration pattern. They also conformed to the results obtained in other similar actualistic studies conducted by other scholars.

Understanding the Post Depositional Bone Modification Processes: an Actualistic Approach

CHANNARAYAPATNA, Sharada Visweswara;
2006

Abstract

Animal bones comprise a significant segment of the archaeological record. However, they undergo major biostratinomic and diagenetic alterations caused by physical, biological and cultural agents over a period of thousands of years from the time of the organism’s death to its recovery in a skeletal form in an excavation. Among various biological factors, large and small carnivores, both domestic and wild, impact bones of their food source with diagnostic patterns of damage by the action of their teeth, nails, claws and trampling by feet. These signatures of carnivore bone modifications can sometimes be discerned in the archaeofaunal remains. In order to enlarge upon the existing knowledge/database of carnivore feeding behaviour and to formulate a more precise identification criteria to distinguish them from other parallel taphonomic signatures, greater number of actualistic investigations are required. The present paper deals with the objectives, methodology, observations and results of a controlled experiment in two chosen zoological parks in India where the chewing/gnawing behaviour of select large cats and hyenas was conducted. The leftover bones were collected from the cages, buried for further decomposition and recovered after six months. A detailed examination of teeth marks (such as pitting, puncturing, scouring, scooping and gouging) on them yielded a regular and anticipated alteration pattern. They also conformed to the results obtained in other similar actualistic studies conducted by other scholars.
Channarayapatna, Sharada Visweswara; Joglekar, P. P.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2363379
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