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PLoS One. 2013 Apr 25;8(4):e62174. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062174. Print 2013.

Earliest archaeological evidence of persistent hominin carnivory.

Author information

1
Department of Anthropology and Institute of Archaeology, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA. joseph_ferraro@baylor.edu

Abstract

The emergence of lithic technology by ≈ 2.6 million years ago (Ma) is often interpreted as a correlate of increasingly recurrent hominin acquisition and consumption of animal remains. Associated faunal evidence, however, is poorly preserved prior to ≈ 1.8 Ma, limiting our understanding of early archaeological (Oldowan) hominin carnivory. Here, we detail three large well-preserved zooarchaeological assemblages from Kanjera South, Kenya. The assemblages date to 2.0 Ma, pre-dating all previously published archaeofaunas of appreciable size. At Kanjera, there is clear evidence that Oldowan hominins acquired and processed numerous, relatively complete, small ungulate carcasses. Moreover, they had at least occasional access to the fleshed remains of larger, wildebeest-sized animals. The overall record of hominin activities is consistent through the stratified sequence - spanning hundreds to thousands of years - and provides the earliest archaeological evidence of sustained hominin involvement with fleshed animal remains (i.e., persistent carnivory), a foraging adaptation central to many models of hominin evolution.

PMID:
23637995
PMCID:
PMC3636145
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0062174
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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