Did Homo erectus kill a Pelorovis herd at BK (Olduvai Gorge)? A taphonomic study of BK5

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Charles P. Egeland, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: New research and excavations at Bell Korongo (BK, Olduvai Gorge, Upper Bed II) have uncovered a dense concentration of megafauna that contributes to our understanding of Homo erectus subsistence strategies around 1.34 Ma. Recent work has yielded clear taphonomic evidence for the exploitation of large-sized animals. The frequency and distribution of cut marks, for example, indicates that hominins enjoyed early access to substantial amounts of meat. This degree of carcass processing, particularly megafauna, suggests that the human group(s) exploiting them were large and had significant nutritional needs. Here, we build upon this work by presenting the first comprehensive taphonomic analysis of the faunal material excavated by the Leakeys at BK between 1952 and 1957 corresponding to 24 Pelorovis oldowayensis. Leakey’s assemblage was biased due to selective collection of the most readily identifiable specimens, among which long bone shafts were not included. The recent assemblage reflects the relevance of using long bone shafts to overcome the equifinality of the alternative scenarios proposed to explain the accumulation of Pelorovis. The analysis of The Olduvai Paleoanthropology and Paleoecology Project’s (TOPPP) recent assemblage sheds light on the reconstruction of hominin strategies of carcass acquisition at BK.

Additional Information

Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 8, 601-624. DOI: 10.1007/s12520-015-0241-8
Language: English
Date: 2015
Olduvai George, Lower Pleistocene archeology, Megafaunal, Taphonomy, Percussion marks, Cut marks, Hunted

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