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Hyaenas and early humans in the latest Early Pleistocene of South-Western Europe.

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Peer-reviewed

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Article

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Authors

Linares-Matás, Gonzalo J  ORCID logo  https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0429-7636
Fernández Ruiz, Norman  ORCID logo  https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8741-5732
Haber Uriarte, María 
López Martínez, Mariano 
Walker, Michael J 

Abstract

Throughout the Pleistocene, early humans and carnivores frequented caves and large rock-shelters, usually generating bone accumulations. The well-preserved late Early Pleistocene sedimentary sequence at Cueva Negra del Estrecho del Río Quípar (CNERQ) has provided substantial evidence concerning the behavioural and adaptive skills of early humans in Western Europe, such as butchery practices, lithic technology or tending fire, whilst also bearing witness to the bone-altering activities of carnivores. Recent fieldwork has allowed the re-examination of the spatial and taphonomical nature of the macrofaunal assemblage from the upper layers of Complex 2. These layers are somewhat different from most of the underlying sequence, in showing quite a high representation of cranial and post-cranial bones of large mammals, including several Megaloceros carthaginiensis antlers. The presence of Crocuta sp. at Cueva Negra represents one of the earliest instances of this genus in Western Eurasia. Identification of several juvenile Crocuta sp. remains alongside coprolites and bones with carnivore damage, indicates sporadical hyaenid denning activity. Furthermore, the presence of bones with percussion and cut-marks near to several hammerstones suggests a clear albeit limited anthropogenic input. We interpret the available taphonomical and spatial evidence from these layers as reflecting a multi-patterned palimpsest, likely representing the non-simultaneous and short-lived co-existence of hyaenas, humans, and other small carnivores in the Cueva Negra palaeolandscape during the final phase of sedimentation preserved at the site.

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31 Biological Sciences, 3103 Ecology, 37 Earth Sciences, 43 History, Heritage and Archaeology, 4301 Archaeology, 3702 Climate Change Science, 3705 Geology

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Sci Rep

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Journal ISSN

2045-2322
2045-2322

Volume Title

11

Publisher

Springer Science and Business Media LLC