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Taphonomic analysis of an ungulate-dominated accumulation at the Pleistocene Cova del Rinoceront site near Barcelona, Spain (northeastern Iberian Peninsula)

Sanz, Montserrat, Daura, Joan
Palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology 2018 v.498 pp. 24-38
bones, carnivores, deer, humans, predation, Iberian Peninsula, Spain
The Upper Pleistocene (MIS5) site known as Cova del Rinoceront near Barcelona, Spain, contains a large assemblage of ungulate remains, among which the most dominant, in the uppermost Layer I, are those of the rare Mediterranean deer, Haploidoceros mediterraneus. In this paper, zooarchaeological and coprogenic analyses are used to evaluate the taphonomic and geological processes involved in determining the nature of the Layer I assemblage. The assemblage cannot have been generated by either hyenids or humans, nor does it constitute an accidental collection, as seen in other Pleistocene accummulations. Instead, the skeletal frequencies, coprogenic tracemarkers and the diagnostic biological damage on bones suggest it accumulated as a result of the feeding of a carnivore. The homogeneous pattern of carcass utilization and the predation of similar-sized ungulates suggest a canid as the main biological agent.