Investigating the signature of aquatic resource use within Pleistocene hominin dietary adaptations

 

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dc.contributor.author Archer, Will en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Braun, David R en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2015-11-10T14:48:17Z
dc.date.available 2015-11-10T14:48:17Z
dc.date.issued 2013 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Archer, W., & Braun, D. R. (2013). Investigating the signature of aquatic resource use within Pleistocene hominin dietary adaptations. PloS one, 8(8), e69899. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069899 en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/14834
dc.identifier.uri http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0069899
dc.description.abstract There is general agreement that the diet of early hominins underwent dramatic changes shortly after the appearance of stone tools in the archaeological record. It is often assumed that this change is associated with dietary expansion to incorporate large mammal resources. Although other aspects of the hominin diet, such as aquatic or vegetal resources, are assumed to be a part of hominin subsistence, identifying evidence of these adaptations has proved difficult. Here we present a series of analyses that provide methodological support for the inclusion of aquatic resources in hominin dietary reconstructions. We suggest that bone surface modifications in aquatic species are morphologically distinguishable from bone surface modifications on terrestrial taxa. We relate these findings to differences that we document in the surface mechanical properties of the two types of bone, as reflected by significant differences in bone surface microhardness values between aquatic and terrestrial species. We hypothesize that the characteristics of bone surface modifications on aquatic taxa inhibit the ability of zooarchaeologists to consistently diagnose them correctly. Contingently, this difficulty influences correspondence levels between zooarchaeologists, and may therefore result in misinterpretation of the taphonomic history of early Pleistocene aquatic faunal assemblages. A blind test using aquatic specimens and a select group of 9 experienced zooarchaeologists as participants was designed to test this hypothesis. Investigation of 4 different possible explanations for blind test results suggest the dominant factors explaining patterning relate to (1) the specific methodologies employed to diagnose modifications on aquatic specimens and (2) the relative experience of participants with modifications on aquatic bone surfaces. Consequently we argue that an important component of early hominin diets may have hitherto been overlooked as a result of (a) the paucity of referential frameworks within which to identify such a component and (b) the inability of applied identification methodologies to consistently do so. en_ZA
dc.language.iso eng en_ZA
dc.publisher Public Library of Science en_ZA
dc.rights This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. en_ZA
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 en_ZA
dc.source PLoS One en_ZA
dc.source.uri http://journals.plos.org/plosone en_ZA
dc.subject.other Paleoanthropology en_ZA
dc.subject.other Human evolution en_ZA
dc.subject.other Analysts en_ZA
dc.subject.other Archaeology en_ZA
dc.subject.other Pleistocene epoch en_ZA
dc.subject.other Aquatic animals en_ZA
dc.subject.other Catfish en_ZA
dc.subject.other Bone and joint mechanics en_ZA
dc.title Investigating the signature of aquatic resource use within Pleistocene hominin dietary adaptations en_ZA
dc.type Journal Article en_ZA
dc.rights.holder © 2013 Archer, Braun en_ZA
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Article en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Science en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Department of Archaeology en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image


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This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.