Climate-mediated shifts in Neandertal subsistence behaviors at Pech de l'Azé IV and Roc de Marsal (Dordogne Valley, France)

Jamie Hodgkins, Curtis Marean, Alain Turq, Dennis Sandgathe, Shannon J P McPherron, Harold Dibble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Neandertals disappeared from Europe just after 40,000 years ago. Some hypotheses ascribe this to numerous population crashes associated with glacial cycles in the late Pleistocene. The goal of this paper is to test the hypothesis that glacial periods stressed Neandertal populations. If cold climates stressed Neandertals, their subsistence behaviors may have changed-requiring intensified use of prey through more extensive nutrient extraction from faunal carcasses. To test this, an analysis of Neandertal butchering was conducted on medium sized bovid/cervid remains composed of predominately red deer (Cervus elaphus), reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), and roe deer (Capreolus caprelous) deposited during global warm and cold phases from two French sites: Pech de l'Azé IV (Pech IV, Bordes' excavation) and Roc de Marsal (RDM). Analysis of surface modification on high survival long bones and proximal and middle phalanges demonstrates that skeletal elements excavated from the cold levels (RDM Level 4, Pech IV Level I2) at each cave have more cut marks and percussion marks than elements from the warm levels (RDM Level 9, Pech IV Level Y-Z) after controlling for fragment size. At both sites, epiphyseal fragments are rare, and although this pattern can result from carnivore consumption, carnivore tooth marks are almost nonexistent (

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Human Evolution
Volume96
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

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Keywords

  • Global climate change
  • Neandertal extinction
  • Paleolithic archaeology
  • Southwestern France
  • Zooarchaeology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Education

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