Article Title

Cave Taphonomy




In lieu of an abstract, below is the first paragraph of the paper.

Savrda and Lewis Gastaldo define taphonomy as the paleontological subdiscipline which is concerned with the process responsible for any organism becoming part of the fossil record, and how these processes influence information in the fossil record (Gastaldo 1996, 1). Lee Lyman goes on to state that even more so it is the science dealing with the laws of burial or embedding (Lyman l). In this paper taphonomy will be discussed along with its use in cave settings mainly during the Pleistocene era. Mary C. Steiner makes it known that hominids evolved as members of animal communities, not in an ecological vacuum (Stiner 1993, 61). Because of this there are many factors which can influence the appearance of bone remains from the time the animal has died until the time the remains are discovered. Taphonomy is needed to distinguish what exactly happened to the bones. The effects of animal scavenging and early hominid hunting and scavenging are huge factors in creating marks on bones which leave us with a record of what exactly was or was not occurring since the death of the animal/hominid. Another issue that is highly debated is whether or not early humans were hunters or scavengers. This too can be examined through the analysis of remains found at cave sites. John Shea writes, "During the last decade both the antiquity and the pale ecological significance of hunting by hominids have been challenged by taphonomic studies" (Shea 441 ).

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