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Assessing the variability in taphonomic studies of modern leporid remains from Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) nest assemblages: the importance of age of prey

AutorLloveras, Lluís; Moreno García, Marta ; Nadal, Jordi
Palabras claveTaphonomy
Leporid remains
Eagle Owl
European rabbit
Age of prey
Anatomical representation
Fecha de publicación2012
CitaciónJournal of Archaeological Science 39 (12): 3754-3764 (2012)
ResumenThe Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) is an important leporid remains accumulator at archaeological sites. Taphonomical studies of modern leporid remains from nest assemblages of this nocturnal raptor aim to establish the main characteristics that define the taphonomic signature of Eagle Owls in order to distinguish them from that of other leporid predators, namely diurnal raptors, terrestrial carnivores and humans. However, analyses carried out so far have shown that the identification of diagnostic features of Eagle Owls leporid nest accumulations is not a straightforward issue – variability has been observed. Age and size of prey are pointed among others as accountable factors but little research has been done on the study of these variables. Here we present the analysis of two samples of modern leporid remains recovered from Eagle Owls nests with the aim of contributing new data to this subject. The high presence of juvenile individuals in both samples enables us to assess anatomical representation, breakage and digestion patterns of immature leporid remains and also to compare them with other assemblages richer in adult prey. Results show that the main characteristic features noted in previous works which recognise Eagle Owls as agents of leporid bones accumulations in the fossil record, are not significantly affected by the age of prey. Less variability than originally thought occurs which means other variables need to be further investigated.
Versión del editorhttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2012.06.033
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