Just out | Taphonomic signature of golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) on bone prey remains @ Historical Biology

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Taphonomic signature of golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) on bone prey remains


Lluís Lloveras, Alessandra Cosso, Jaume Solé, Bernat Claramunt-López & Jordi Nadal


The golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) is one of the most important birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. This raptor is used to building large nests in high cliffs to which they return for several breeding years accumulating important amounts of their prey skeletal remains. This makes the golden eagle one of the major predators able to accumulate faunal remains in archaeological sites. Despite this fact, the taphonomic signature of golden eagles has not been properly characterized. Here we present the analysis of ingested and non-ingested faunal remains predated and accumulated by this raptor in two different nesting areas from the Iberian Peninsula. Results show how the faunal taxonomic record may vary depending on the ecological zone. Leporids and terrestrial carnivores are the best represented. The observed anatomical representation, breakage and bone surface modification patterns are discussed for different taxa. The taphonomic pattern varies depending on the type of prey and the origin of skeletal materials (non-ingested vs. pellets). Finally, after comparing our results with marks left by other predators, several characteristic features are noted to recognise golden eagles as agents of animal bones accumulations in the fossil record.

Keywords: Taphonomy, Aquila chrysaetos, bone accumulator agents, small prey, anatomical representation, breakage, beak marks, digested bones

DOI: 10.1080/08912963.2017.1319830

READ IT HERE: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/08912963.2017.1319830

Lurdes Fonseca

Assistant Professor and Researcher at University of Lisbon
Sociologist (PhD), Paleontologist (Researcher in Micropaleontology), Majors in Sociology and Biology, Minor in Geology. Main interests in Paleontology: Microfossils, Molecular fossils, Paleobiology and Paleoecology. (read more about me)