Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-59b7f5684b-s82fj Total loading time: 0.743 Render date: 2022-10-04T13:31:25.437Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": true, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

Article contents

Temporal span of bone accumulations at Olduvai Gorge and implications for early hominid foraging behavior

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 April 2016

Richard Potts*
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520

Abstract

Bones of mammals exhibit progressive stages of weathering during their time of subaerial exposure. Consequently, the study of bone weathering in fossil assemblages may help to assess the period represented by an accumulation of bones. Stages of bone decomposition due to subaerial weathering have been identified in assemblages of fossil macromammals from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. A modern bone assemblage collected by spotted hyenas is used to devise a method for recognizing attritional accumulations of bones from weathering characteristics. This method, which involves study of long bone diaphyses, is applied to Plio-Pleistocene faunal assemblages from Olduvai, 1.70–1.85 ma old. Previous work indicates that early hominids had an important role in the collection of fauna at five of the six sites studied. It is shown that animal bones were accumulated at each site over a period of probably 5–10 yr or more. The length of this period, along with other taphonomic evidence, suggests that the processes of bone aggregation at these sites differed from those at the short-term campsites of modern, tropical hunter-gatherers.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Paleontological Society 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Literature Cited

Anderson, J. M., Byrd, B. F., Elson, M. D., McGuire, R. H., Mendoza, R. G., Staski, E., and White, J. P. 1981. The deer hunters: Star Carr reconsidered. World Arch. 13:3146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Behrensmeyer, A. K. 1978. Taphonomic and ecologic information from bone weathering. Paleobiology. 2:150162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Behrensmeyer, A. K. 1982. Time resolution in fluvial vertebrate assemblages. Paleobiology. 8:211227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Behrensmeyer, A. K. and Dechant Boaz, D. 1980. The recent bones of Amboseli Park, Kenya, in relation to East African paleoecology. Pp. 7292. In: Behrensmeyer, A. K. and Hill, A., eds. Fossils in the Making. Univ. Chicago Press; Chicago.Google Scholar
Hay, R. L. 1976. Geology of the Olduvai Gorge. 203 pp. Univ. California Press; Berkeley.Google Scholar
Hill, A. 1980. Hyaena provisioning of juvenile offspring at the den. Mammalia. 44:594595.Google Scholar
Hill, A. 1981. A modern hyaena den in Amboseli National Park, Kenya. Proc. Pan-Afr. Cong. Preh. Quat. Stud., Nairobi. Pp. 137138.Google Scholar
Hill, A. 1983. Hyaenas and early hominids. Pp. 8792. In: Clutton-Brock, J. and Grigson, C., eds. Animals in Archaeology. BAR, Oxford. International Series 163.Google Scholar
Isaac, G. 1978. The food sharing behavior of protohuman hominids. Sci. Am. 238:90108.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kruuk, H. 1972. The Spotted Hyena. 335 pp. Univ. Chicago Press; Chicago.Google Scholar
Leakey, M. D. 1971. Olduvai Gorge. Vol. 3. 306 pp. Cambridge Univ. Press; London.Google Scholar
Pfeiffer, J. 1972. The Emergence of Man. 2d ed.Macmillan; New York.Google Scholar
Potts, R. 1982. Lower Pleistocene site formation and hominid activities at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. 494 pp. Ph.D. diss., Harvard Univ.Google Scholar
Potts, R. 1984. Home base and early hominids. Am. Sci. 72:338347.Google Scholar
Potts, R. In press. Early hominid activities at Olduvai. Aldine; Hawthorne, New York.Google Scholar
Potts, R. and Shipman, P. 1981. Cutmarks made by stone tools on bones from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. Nature. 291:577580.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Richardson, P. R. K. 1980. Carnivore damage to antelope bones and its archaeological implications. Palaeontol. Afr. 23:109125.Google Scholar
Skinner, J. D., Davis, S., and Ilani, G. 1980. Bone collecting by striped hyaenas (Hyaena hyaena) in Israel. Palaeontol. Afr. 23:99104.Google Scholar
Yellen, J. 1976. Settlement patterns of the !Kung: An archaeological perspective. Pp. 4872. In: Lee, R. and Devore, I., eds. Kalahari Hunter-gatherers. Harvard Univ. Press; Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
33
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Temporal span of bone accumulations at Olduvai Gorge and implications for early hominid foraging behavior
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Temporal span of bone accumulations at Olduvai Gorge and implications for early hominid foraging behavior
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Temporal span of bone accumulations at Olduvai Gorge and implications for early hominid foraging behavior
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *