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Sci Rep ; 12(1): 20200, 2022 Nov 23.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-36418512


Cervids, and especially the red deer Cervus elaphus, are among the most regularly and abundantly recorded ungulates in Pleistocene/Paleolithic bone assemblages. Numerous Pleistocene or Holocene subspecies have been described, reinforcing their status as essential proxies for environmental and chronological reconstructions. Despite this, at the beginning of the Late Pleistocene, their diversity seems to have decreased. In this study, we analysed teeth and some postcranial elements of Cervus and Capreolus from north-eastern Iberia and south-eastern France to clarify their morphological characteristics and ecological adaptations. We describe a transitional form in north-eastern Iberia between the western European stock and the current form C. e. hispanicus. Such sub-speciation processes are connected to biogeographical factors, as there were limited exchanges between north-eastern Iberia and the northern Pyrenees, whereas the north-western part of the peninsula seems more connected to the northern Pyrenees. The anatomical plasticity (morpho-functional adaptation and body size) of red deer is connected to dietary flexibility (dental meso- and microwear). Conversely, Capreolus shows greater morphological and ecological homogeneity. Body size variations seem directly correlated with their ability to browse throughout the year. The marked differences between the eco-bio-geographical responses of the two taxa can be explained by their habitat selection.

Cervos , Animais , Tamanho Corporal , Geografia , Aclimatação , França
Sci Rep ; 10(1): 6424, 2020 04 14.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32286396


Within the animal kingdom, carnivores occupied a unique place in prehistoric societies. At times predators or competitors for resources and shelters, anthropogenic traces of their exploitation, often for non-nutritional purposes, permeate the archaeological record. Scarce but spectacular depictions in Palaeolithic art confirm peoples' fascination with carnivores. In contrast with the European record, research on hominin/carnivore interactions in Africa has primarily revolved around the hunting or scavenging debate amongst early hominins. As such, the available information on the role of carnivores in Anatomically Modern Humans' economic and cultural systems is limited. Here, we illustrate a particular relationship between humans and carnivores during the MIS5-4 Still Bay and Howiesons Poort techno-complexes at Diepkloof Rock Shelter, South Africa. The recovery of numerous felid remains, including cut-marked phalanges, tarsals and metapodials, constitutes direct evidence for carnivore skinning and, presumably, pelt use in the southern African Middle Stone Age. Carnivore exploitation at the site seems to have focused specifically on nocturnal, solitary and dangerous felines. The lines of evidence presented here suggest the capture and fur use of those felines in the context of highly codified and symbolically loaded cultural traditions.

Comportamento , Gatos/fisiologia , Animais , Osso e Ossos/anatomia & histologia , Gatos/anatomia & histologia , Cultura , Humanos , África do Sul , Fatores de Tempo
J Hum Evol ; 85: 22-34, 2015 Aug.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26073074


South Africa has in recent years gained increasing importance for our understanding of the evolution of 'modern human behaviour' during the Middle Stone Age (MSA). A key element in the suite of behaviours linked with modern humans is heat treatment of materials such as ochre for ritual purposes and stone prior to tool production. Until now, there has been no direct archaeological evidence for the exact procedure used in the heat treatment of silcrete. Through the analysis of heat-treated artefacts from the Howiesons Poort of Diepkloof Rock Shelter, we identified a hitherto unknown type of organic residue - a tempering-residue - that sheds light on the processes used for heat treatment in the MSA. This black film on the silcrete surface is an organic tar that contains microscopic fragments of charcoal and formed as a residue during the direct contact of the artefacts with hot embers of green wood. Our results suggest that heat treatment of silcrete was conducted directly using an open fire, similar to those likely used for cooking. These findings add to the discussion about the complexity of MSA behaviour and appear to contradict previous studies that had suggested that heat treatment of silcrete was a complex (i.e., requiring a large number of steps for its realization) and resource-consuming procedure.

Evolução Biológica , Incêndios , Tecnologia/métodos , Animais , História Antiga , Hominidae , Temperatura Alta , Humanos , Dióxido de Silício , Alcatrões/química , Tecnologia/história , Comportamento de Utilização de Ferramentas
Nature ; 477(7362): 82-5, 2011 Aug 31.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-21886161


The Acheulian is one of the first defined prehistoric techno-complexes and is characterized by shaped bifacial stone tools. It probably originated in Africa, spreading to Europe and Asia perhaps as early as ∼1 million years (Myr) ago. The origin of the Acheulian is thought to have closely coincided with major changes in human brain evolution, allowing for further technological developments. Nonetheless, the emergence of the Acheulian remains unclear because well-dated sites older than 1.4 Myr ago are scarce. Here we report on the lithic assemblage and geological context for the Kokiselei 4 archaeological site from the Nachukui formation (West Turkana, Kenya) that bears characteristic early Acheulian tools and pushes the first appearance datum for this stone-age technology back to 1.76 Myr ago. Moreover, co-occurrence of Oldowan and Acheulian artefacts at the Kokiselei site complex indicates that the two technologies are not mutually exclusive time-successive components of an evolving cultural lineage, and suggests that the Acheulian was either imported from another location yet to be identified or originated from Oldowan hominins at this vicinity. In either case, the Acheulian did not accompany the first human dispersal from Africa despite being available at the time. This may indicate that multiple groups of hominins distinguished by separate stone-tool-making behaviours and dispersal strategies coexisted in Africa at 1.76 Myr ago.

Evolução Cultural , Sedimentos Geológicos/análise , Hominidae/fisiologia , Animais , Arqueologia , Evolução Biológica , Fósseis , Humanos , Quênia
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 107(14): 6180-5, 2010 Apr 06.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-20194764


Ongoing debates about the emergence of modern human behavior, however defined, regularly incorporate observations from the later part of the southern African Middle Stone Age and emphasize the early appearance of artifacts thought to reflect symbolic practice. Here we report a large sample of 270 fragments of intentionally marked ostrich eggshell from the Howiesons Poort at Diepkloof Rock Shelter, Western Cape, South Africa. Dating from approximately 60,000 years ago, these pieces attest to an engraving tradition that is the earliest reliable evidence of what is a widespread modern practice. These abstract linear depictions were made on functional items (eggshell containers), which were curated and involved in daily hunter-gatherer life. The standardized production of repetitive patterns, including a hatched band motif, suggests a system of symbolic representation in which collective identities and individual expressions are clearly communicated, suggesting social, cultural, and cognitive underpinnings that overlap with those of modern people.

Cultura , Gravuras e Gravação , Animais , Casca de Ovo , Humanos , Reiformes , África do Sul , Fatores de Tempo
J Hum Evol ; 49(2): 230-40, 2005 Aug.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-15970311


Cognitive abilities and techno-economic behaviours of hominids in the time period between 2.6-2.3 Myr have become increasingly well-documented. This time period corresponds to the oldest evidence for stone tools at Gona (Kada Gona, West Gona, EG 10-12, OGS 6-7), Hadar (AL 666), lower Omo valley (Ftji1, 2 & 5, Omo 57, Omo 123) in Ethiopia, and West Turkana (Lokalalei sites -LA1 & LA2C-) in Kenya. In 2002 a new palaeoanthropological site (LA1alpha), 100 meters south of the LA1 archaeological site, produced a first right lower molar of a juvenile hominid (KNM-WT 42718). The relative small size of the crown, its marked MD elongation and BL reduction, the relative position of the cusps, the lack of a C6 and the mild expression of a protostylid, reinforced by metrical analyses, demonstrate the distinctiveness of this tooth compared with Australopithecus afarensis, A. anamensis, A. africanus and Paranthropus boisei, and its similarity to early Homo. The LA1alpha site lies 2.2 m above the Ekalalei Tuff which is slightly younger than Tuff F dated to 2.34+/-0.04 Myr. This juvenile specimen represents the oldest occurrence of the genus Homo in West Turkana.

Hominidae/anatomia & histologia , Dente Molar/anatomia & histologia , Paleodontologia , Animais , Humanos , Quênia