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Meat on the menu: GIS spatial distribution analysis of bone surface damage indicates that Oldowan hominins at Kanjera South, Kenya had early access to carcasses

Parkinson, JA, Plummer, TW, Oliver, JS and Bishop, LC (2021) Meat on the menu: GIS spatial distribution analysis of bone surface damage indicates that Oldowan hominins at Kanjera South, Kenya had early access to carcasses. Quaternary Science Reviews: the international multidisciplinary research and review journal, 277. ISSN 0277-3791

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The shift to increased meat consumption is one of the major adaptive changes in hominin dietary evolution. Although meat eating by Oldowan hominins is well evidenced at Pleistocene archaeological sites in eastern Africa by butchery marks on bones, the methods through which carcasses were acquired (i.e., hunting vs. scavenging) and extent of their completeness (fleshed vs. defleshed) is less certain. This study addresses these issues through a geographic information systems (GIS) comparative analysis of bone modification patterns created by hominins and carnivores observed in the ca. 2.0 Ma assemblage from Kanjera South, Kenya and those of several modern, experimentally modified bone assemblages. Comparison of GIS-generated models shows that the pattern of bone preservation at Kanjera South is similar to that found in experimental bone assemblages that were first butchered and hammerstone fractured by humans, and subsequently scavenged by carnivores. The distribution of bone modifications on the 2 Kanjera fauna also suggests hominins had early access to small bovids. Butchery marks appear almost exclusively in ‘hot zones’—areas where flesh does not typically survive lion consumption—further suggesting Kanjera hominins were not scavenging carnivore kills. Our findings support previous claims that the Kanjera assemblage offers the earliest clear evidence of repeated butchery of antelope carcasses by Early Stone Age ( Oldowan) hominins and perhaps the earliest evidence for hunting. Kanjera carnivore damage frequencies are lower than those reported for the slightly younger site of FLK Zinj (Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania), suggesting differing competitive regimes at the two sites.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 04 Earth Sciences, 21 History and Archaeology
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QM Human anatomy
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Elsevier
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2021 11:28
Last Modified: 29 Dec 2022 00:50
DOI or ID number: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2021.107314
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/15923
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