Examining criteria for identifying and differentiating fossil faunal assemblages accumulated by hyenas and hominins using extant hyenid accumulations

B. F. Kuhn, L. R. Berger, J. D. Skinner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Numerous authors have put forth criteria for distinguishing between assemblages collected by hyenas and hominins. Of the seven most recognised criteria used to distinguish hyenid from hominin assemblages, it has recently been suggested that four be rejected and three retained. The four rejected criteria are: an excessive proportion of horns and horn cores in hyena accumulated assemblages; the absence of small, hard, compact bones; mortality profiles; and the ratio of cranial bones to postcranial bones. The three criteria previous researchers suggested be retained are: a carnivore MNI ratio of ≥20%; an abundance of cylinder fragments; and hyena-inflicted damage upon the bones. In this examination of over 27,000 faunal remains associated with all three species of extant bone-collecting hyenids from four countries and two continents, six of the seven previously established criteria and reconsiderations of criteria have been evaluated. The results of the present study indicate that of the six criteria examined, none, as written, are indicative of hyenid activity on bone assemblages of unknown origin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-35
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Osteoarchaeology
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Bone assemblages
  • Faunal analysis
  • Hyena
  • Taphonomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archeology (arts and humanities)
  • Anthropology
  • Archeology

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Examining criteria for identifying and differentiating fossil faunal assemblages accumulated by hyenas and hominins using extant hyenid accumulations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this