Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Taphonomic and ecologic information from bone weathering

  • Anna K. Behrensmeyer (a1)
Abstract

Bones of recent mammals in the Amboseli Basin, southern Kenya, exhibit distinctive weathering characteristics that can be related to the time since death and to the local conditions of temperature, humidity and soil chemistry. A categorization of weathering characteristics into six stages, recognizable on descriptive criteria, provides a basis for investigation of weathering rates and processes. The time necessary to achieve each successive weathering stage has been calibrated using known-age carcasses. Most bones decompose beyond recognition in 10 to 15 yr. Bones of animals under 100 kg and juveniles appear to weather more rapidly than bones of large animals or adults. Small-scale rather than widespread environmental factors seem to have greatest influence on weathering characteristics and rates. Bone weathering is potentially valuable as evidence for the period of time represented in recent or fossil bone assemblages, including those on archeological sites, and may also be an important tool in censusing populations of animals in modern ecosystems.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Behrensmeyer A. K. 1975. The Taphonomy and paleoecology of Plio-Pleistocene vertebrate assemblages of Lake Rudolf, Kenya. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 146:473578.
Behrensmeyer A. K. and Dechant D. E.In prep. The recent bones of Amboseli Park, Kenya in relation to East African Paleoecology. To be in: Behrensmeyer A. K. and Hill A., eds. Fossils in the Making. In Prep. (Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological research symposium 69.)
Binford L. R. and Bertram J. B. 1977. Bone frequencies—and attritional processes. Pp. 77153. In: Binford L. R., ed. For Theory Building in Archeology. Academic Press; New York.
Brain C. K. 1967. Bone weathering and the problem of bone pseudotools. South Afr. J. Sci. 63(3):9799.
Gifford D. P. and Behrensmeyer A. K. 1977. Observed formation and burial of a recent human occupation site in Kenya. Quaternary Res. 8:245266.
Hare E. P. 1974. Amino acid dating of bone—the influence of water. Carnegie Inst. of Washington Year Book. 73:576581.
Hill A. 1975. Taphonomy of contemporary and late Cenozoic East African vertebrates. 331 pp. Unpubl. Ph.D. thesis; Univ. of London, London.
Isaac G. I. 1967. Towards the interpretation of occupation debris: some experiments and observations. The Kroeber Anthropol. Soc. Pap. 37:3157.
Rickleffs R. E. 1973. Ecology 861 pp. Chiron Press; Portland, Oregon.
Shipman P. 1977. Paleoecology, taphonomic history, and population dynamics of the vertebrate fossil assemblage from middle Miocene deposits exposed at Fort Ternan, Kenya. Unpubl. Ph.D. thesis; New York Univ. (Anthropology), New York.
Tappen N. C. and Peske G. R. 1970. Weathering cracks and split-line patterns in archeological bone. Am. Antiq. 35:383386.
Toots H. 1965. Sequence of disarticulation in mammalian skeletons. Contrib. Geol. 4:3739.
Voorhies M. 1969. Taphonomy and population dynamics of an early Pliocene vertebrate fauna, Knox County, Nebraska. 69 pp. Contrib. Geol., Spec. Pap. No. 1. Univ. Wyo. Press; Laramie, Wyoming.
Western D. 1973. The structure, dynamics and changes of the Amboseli ecosystem. 385 pp. Unpubl. Ph.D. thesis; Univ. of Nairobi (Zoology), Nairobi.
Western D. and van Praet C. 1973. Cyclical changes in the habitat and climate of an East African ecosystem. Nature. 241:104106.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Paleobiology
  • ISSN: 0094-8373
  • EISSN: 1938-5331
  • URL: /core/journals/paleobiology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 26 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1458 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 17th December 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.