Mesocarnivores and the Human Niche

Author(s): Ximena Lemoine

Year: 2015


Human settlements and occupations of any size or length present novel selective pressures and scenarios not only for the human populations composing them, but also for wild plant and animal communities surrounding them. The presence of human settlements, particularly those with increasing sedentism and intensified local landscape use, have lasting effects on wild animal communities as they interact with, tolerate, and even utilize human spaces. What happens to wild animal populations when they enter and subsist within the human niche is a topic studied at length in modern ecology, however it has gone understudied in the prehistoric past. In this paper I will provide preliminary results from a study of carnivores, with a focus on mesocarnivores, at 7 distinct archaeological sites from the Taurus-Zagros Arc ranging from the Palaeolithic to the Neolithic. I will be looking at the relative abundance of small and medium size carnivores as they appear in human settlements of different sizes and occupation intensities within the same geographical region. This study will provide insights into why some carnivores that subsisted alongside human settlements in the ancient past entered commensal pathways that eventually led to domestication (i.e. dogs and cats) and the vast majority did not.

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Cite this Record

Mesocarnivores and the Human Niche. Ximena Lemoine. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398134)

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Geographic Keywords
West Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;