What about the dingo? Rethinking climate change as a driving force in species change in Australian zooarchaeology

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  • What about the dingo? Rethinking climate change as a driving force in species change in Australian zooarchaeology

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Title


What about the dingo? Rethinking climate change as a driving force in species change in Australian zooarchaeology

Subject

S5-2, S6-3, General session, oral

Description

Abstract:

Climate change is increasingly cited as a driving force in diachronic species change in zooarchaeology. However, the introduction of a new species may also play a key role in changes to species biodiversity. This paper explores the role of an introduced predator, the dingo, in Australian zooarchaeology and suggests that predator abundance may have a greater affect than climate change on species biodiversity. While dingoes have received attention as agents of bone fragmentation and accumulation, as well as for their commensal relationship with Aboriginal people, study has not been directed to the meta-role of dingoes as prey regulators and the subsequent impact on human behavioural ecology that direct competition between dingoes and humans could have produced. Given the marked effects that dingoes have on contemporary kangaroo abundance and the human economy, we argue that dingoes likely shaped the human economy in the past through human-dingo competition for the same resources. Competition between humans and dingoes is investigated in the archaeological record by comparing the relative frequency of prey of different body sizes, as well as the degree of fragmentation of skeletal elements, pre and post-dingo. Preliminary results show a shift in prey species post-3500 BP coincident with the arrival of the dingo on the Australian continent. This correlation suggests that we should reconsider climate change as the sole driving force in species change through time.

Authors:

FILLIOS Melanie1 and LETNIC Mike2

Affiliations

1 AMMRF, Madsen Building F09, Room 268, The University of Sydney, NSW, 2006, Sydney, AUSTRALIA, m.fillios@usyd.edu.au
2 School of Biological Sciences, A08 - Heydon-Laurence Building, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Sydney, AUSTRALIA, michael.letnic@sydney.edu.au

Creator

Fillios, Melanie
Letnic, Mike

Date

August 2010

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Citation

Fillios, Melanie and Letnic, Mike. " What about the dingo? Rethinking climate change as a driving force in species change in Australian zooarchaeology ," in BoneCommons, Item #1135, http://alexandriaarchive.org/bonecommons/items/show/1135 (accessed December 7, 2019).