The evolution of Paleolithic hominin–carnivore interaction written in teeth: Stories from the Swabian Jura (Germany)

Research paper by Edgard Camarós, Susanne C. Münzel, Marián Cueto, Florent Rivals, Nicholas J. Conard

Indexed on: 15 Mar '16Published on: 02 Dec '15Published in: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports


The interaction between hominins and carnivores during the Paleolithic is highly dynamic, and the study of these relationships provides key insights into the evolution of human behavior. In this sense, the relations that hominins had with large carnivores can help us address topics that span from subsistence behavior to intra-site spatial organization. Usually, all these studies are developed by analyzing post-cranial faunal remains, including carnivore and non-carnivore anatomical elements. Teeth and activities related to teeth (e.g. bite marks) are additional elements that inform us about hominin–carnivore interactions. In the present paper, we analyze the changing forms of interaction between hominins and carnivores during the Paleolithic of the Swabian Jura (Germany) using carnivore tooth remains and carnivore bite marks. We observe that the relation between hominins and carnivores reflects a dynamic interaction from the Middle to the Upper Paleolithic that is documented trough tooth remains and bones with tooth marks from carnivores. The present multidisciplinary contribution analyzes teeth and tooth marks to understand site formation process, carnivore hunting, tool use, human recycling behavior, the role of ornaments made from carnivore teeth, and domestication process.

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