The 88th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2019)

Predation at Denisova cave during the Middle Paleolithic: a story of human and beasts


1PACEA, cnrs, 2Department of Anthropology, NYU, 3IAET, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

March 28, 2019 9:45, CC Ballroom A Add to calendar

Abstract text

The Altai region has become a major laboratory for studying the subsistence strategies developed by different human species for the exploitation of the same environment. Densiova cave occupies a specific place in this topic with its stratigraphy yielding occupations attributed to Neanderthal and Denisovian species.

Previous paleontological analyses underlined the existence of numerous large carnivores accumulating (Ursus arctos, Crocuta Spealaea, Canus Lupus etc..) in the faunal spectrum raising questions about the origin of the faunal stocks for the different stratigraphic units of the Eastern Chambers. This paper proposes the first zooarchaeological and taphonomic analyses of the macro-mammals remains, with two main objectives: firstly to discuss the respective contribution of human and carnivore to the different layers and, secondly, to approach the ecology of the different human species and their seasonality of occupation.

Our results underlined major evolution in the respective contribution of human and carnivore through the stratigraphy. Preys hunted by carnivores are the same during the whole sequence, Human changed their selections strategies through time. The carnivore Human relationship appears to have been more complex than previously evaluated: numerous exploitation marks on every carnivore species different confirm their exploitation for furs and that they were integrated in the animal raw materials used by the different human groups.

Our papers brings new insights on the strong interactions between past human populations and their faunal environment. It helps to better characterize the human ecology at the sunset of the Middle Paleolithic in the Siberian Altai region.

Part of this research was funded by CemeNTAA program from the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (French National Research Agency) - ANR-14-CE31-0011 [Rendu] and by the LIA Artemir