From tortoises to elephants: the impact of elephants in the broad spectrum diet at Bolomor Cave (MIS 9–5 Spain)

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Dokumentart: Buch (einzelnes Kapitel)
Date: 2021-04-14
Language: English
Other Keywords: Middle Pleistocene
Mediterranean basin
broad spectrum diet
Bolomor Cave
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Animal exploitation strategies have occupied a prominent place in the debate about the timing and nature of the modern human behavior. The discussions have basically focused on the ability to make an intensive use of seasonal resources, to hunt large or dangerous animals and to exploit fast-moving small game. Both large-sized herbi- vores and small prey are therefore considered a key variable to assess fundamental aspects of the evolution of subsistence strategies. In this work we present zooarchaeological data from the Middle Pleistocene site of Bolomor Cave (Valencia, Spain, MIS 9–5e), which has been interpreted as a habitat place. Its taxonomic representation extends from very large-sized herbivores (elephants, hippopot- amuses and rhinoceroses) to very small-sized an- imals (lagomorphs, birds and tortoises), or even exotic animals like macaque. Elephant specimens are documented along the stratigraphic sequence from level Ia, IV, V, XII, XIII and XVII. Most of the elephant individuals are immature and partial- ly represented. Nevertheless, the bone fragments recovered coincide with the general anatomical profile of the medium- and large-sized ungulates, which is mainly characterized by stylopodials, zeu- gopodials and mandibles. Evidence of human use of small prey from the earliest phases of site oc- cupation (sublevel XVIIc) is also attested in form of cut marks, intentional bone breakages, human tooth marks and burning patterns. The exploita- tion of small prey, alongside to the very large game identified at the site, indicates a generalist human behavior based on a broad spectrum diet (BSD), which contributes to document the diversity in the lifestyles of the human communities of the Euro- pean Middle Pleistocene.

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