Quantitative Analysis of Bone Surface Modifications on the Bowser Road Mastodon and its Implications for the Human Predation of North American Megafauna
This is an abstract from the "Novel Statistical Techniques in Archaeology II (QUANTARCH II)" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
Toward the end of the Pleistocene, North America experienced a mass extinction of large mammals, including Proboscideans such as mammoths and mastodons. The role of human predation in these extinctions is widely debated across several scientific disciplines, including Conservation Biology, Paleontology, and Archaeology. A frequently debated topic is the predator-prey dynamic between Pleistocene hunter-gatherers and Proboscideans. Traces of human butchery, such as cut marks and other bone surface modification (BSM), are usually presented as evidence for human/proboscidean predator-prey associations. However, many experts have challenged the validity of butchery evidence observed on several proboscidean assemblages due to the qualitative nature of BSM assessments. This study utilizes new statistical techniques based on 3D-imaging data and 3D Geometric Morphometrics to determine the origin of BSM observed on the skeletal remains of the Bowser Road Mastodon (Middletown, N.Y.). This technique has been shown to have high accuracy in identifying and discriminating types of BSM. This study quantitatively compared BSM from the Bowser Road Mastodon to experimental BSM resulting from butchery, trampling, carnivore gnawing, and agricultural plowing. Results allow us to discriminate between BSM causing agents, contributing to a more accurate account of the interactions between humans and Pleistocene megafauna.
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Quantitative Analysis of Bone Surface Modifications on the Bowser Road Mastodon and its Implications for the Human Predation of North American Megafauna. Evalyn Stow, Desiree Clark, Jacob Harris, Curtis Marean, Erik Otarola-Castillo. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 452325)
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Abstract Id(s): 26048