Documenting the macabre: Using game cameras to generate taphonomic models of waterhole faunal death assemblages in the Australian semi-arid zone

All Titles

  • Documenting the macabre: Using game cameras to generate taphonomic models of waterhole faunal death assemblages in the Australian semi-arid zone

Dublin Core

Title

Documenting the macabre: Using game cameras to generate taphonomic models of waterhole faunal death assemblages in the Australian semi-arid zone

Subject

S7-1. New perspectives on taphonomy, poster

Description

Abstract:

Can zooarchaeologists really reconstruct everything that happens to an animal after death? This experimental study documents the effects of scavenging on several kangaroo carcasses in waterhole contexts in the Australian Outback to generate taphonomic models for the death, dispersal and ultimate accumulation of bones from waterhole death assemblages. Applying a novel method borrowed from ecology and North American game hunters, digital game cameras were trained on kangaroo carcasses 24/7 to visually capture the effects of every scavenger. This technology, coupled with good old-fashioned visual examination of the faunal remains, enabled us to qualify the effects of various scavengers with considerable accuracy. ‘Traditional’ actualistic taphonomic studies of the effects of scavenging use tracks, scats, visual sightings, and analyses of tooth marks and fragmentation patterns. Our study found these methods often fall short, failing to document for example, those scavengers that eat soft tissue. We apply our resulting model to a contentious issue in Australian archaeology, the extinction of the megafauna at the Pleistocene site of Cuddie Springs, NSW. We address whether the fossil faunal assemblage is likely the result of human agency or a natural accumulation, providing insight into the role of humans in the great megafaunal extinction debate.

Authors:

FILLIOS Melanie

Affiliations

The University of Sydney, Australian Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis, Madsen F09, Sydney NSW, 2006 Australia, m.fillios@usyd.edu.au

Creator

Fillios, Melanie

Date

August 2010

Contribution Form

Online Submission

No

Document Item Type Metadata

Citation

Fillios, Melanie. "Documenting the macabre: Using game cameras to generate taphonomic models of waterhole faunal death assemblages in the Australian semi-arid zone ," in BoneCommons, Item #1136, http://alexandriaarchive.org/bonecommons/items/show/1136 (accessed November 15, 2019).

License

Creative Commons License

File: Filliosposter_ICAZ.pdf