Tuebingen Paleoanthropology Book Series – Contributions in Paleoanthropology Band 1: Human-elephant interactions: from past to present

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Tuebingen Paleoanthropology Book Series – Contributions in Paleoanthropology Band 1: Human-elephant interactions: from past to present

 

Human-elephant interactions: from past to present

Abstract

In recent decades, a significant number of Pleistocene (ca. 2.6 million years–10,000 years ago) open-air and cave sites yielding elephant or mammoth bones in direct association with hominin remains and/or lithic artifacts have been discovered in Eurasia, Africa and America. Many of them show strong evidence of acquisition and processing of proboscidean carcasses by early humans, leading scientists to interpret them as “elephant butchering sites”. Indeed, proboscidean exploitation by early Homo has been proposed to have been critical for Palaeolithic human lifeways, influencing not only their subsistence, but also other aspects of early human evolution and adaptations. The nature and degree of interactions between humans and elephants comprises an important field in palaeoanthropological studies since decades, but many questions remain still unanswered or partially explored. By bringing together research papers from the fields of Palaeolithic Archaeology, Palaeoanthropology, Palaeontology, Zooarchaeology, Geology, Ethnography and Nutrition Studies, the book systematically covers a diverse array of perspectives on elephant-human interactions across the world from the Pleistocene times until today. The volume includes 19 contributions and is organized into four thematic sections: 1) The Palaeolithic record, 2) A view of the evidence, 3) Elephants in past human nutrition, and 4) Ethnography – Human-elephant interactions in recent Africa. Collectively, the volume not only showcases the current state of knowledge, but also intends to provoke renewed interest for current and further research, and build an interdisciplinary and synthetic understanding of the significance of proboscideans throughout human evolution.

Keywords

human-elephant, Palaeolithic, Archaeology, Palaeoanthropology, Paleontology, Zooarchaeology