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Human exploitation of nocturnal felines at Diepkloof Rock Shelter provides further evidence for symbolic behaviours during the Middle Stone Age

Abstract : Within the animal kingdom, carnivores occupied a unique place in prehistoric societies. At times predators or competitors for resources and shelters, anthropogenic traces of their exploitation, often for non-nutritional purposes, permeate the archaeological record. Scarce but spectacular depictions in Palaeolithic art confirm peoples' fascination with carnivores. In contrast with the European record, research on hominin/carnivore interactions in Africa has primarily revolved around the hunting or scavenging debate amongst early hominins. As such, the available information on the role of carnivores in Anatomically Modern Humans' economic and cultural systems is limited. Here, we illustrate a particular relationship between humans and carnivores during the MIS5-4 Still Bay and Howiesons Poort techno-complexes at Diepkloof Rock Shelter, South Africa. The recovery of numerous felid remains, including cut-marked phalanges, tarsals and metapodials, constitutes direct evidence for carnivore skinning and, presumably, pelt use in the southern African Middle Stone Age. Carnivore exploitation at the site seems to have focused specifically on nocturnal, solitary and dangerous felines. the lines of evidence presented here suggest the capture and fur use of those felines in the context of highly codified and symbolically loaded cultural traditions.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03094209
Contributeur : Guillaume Porraz <>
Soumis le : lundi 4 janvier 2021 - 11:39:48
Dernière modification le : jeudi 7 janvier 2021 - 03:35:56
Archivage à long terme le : : lundi 5 avril 2021 - 19:35:00

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Aurore Val, Guillaume Porraz, Pierre-Jean Texier, John Fisher, John Parkington. Human exploitation of nocturnal felines at Diepkloof Rock Shelter provides further evidence for symbolic behaviours during the Middle Stone Age. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2020, 10 (1), ⟨10.1038/s41598-020-63250-x⟩. ⟨hal-03094209⟩

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