The frequency and morphology of notches produced on bovid long bones by carnivore gnawing (tooth notches) and hammerstone-on-anvil breakage (percussion notches) are quantified. Notches are semicircular- to arcuate-shaped indentations on fracture edges with corresponding negative flake scars on medullary surfaces. We restrict our analysis to notches produced under controlled conditions by either carnivores or hammerstones when diaphyses are breached to extract marrow. Percussion notches are characteristically more frequent, and, in cortical view, broader and shallower than tooth notches. The flakes removed from percussion notches are typically broader, and have a more obtuse release angle, than those removed from tooth notches. These morphological differences are statistically significant for notches on Bovid Size 1 and 2 long bones but not on Bovid Size 3 long bones.
Notches should be more durable than marks produced by carcass consumers on bone surfaces because they penetrate the entire thickness of the bone. As a result, notches are not easily obscured by weathering, chemical corrosion, or adhering matrix. Given this durability, and the initial success we have had in distinguishing the actor responsible for notch production on modern bones, notches can be used, with some limitations, to identify bone consumers archaeologically.