Ungulates Gnawing: Osteophagia & Bone Modifications

These Bones Of Mine

Osteophagia: Osteophagia is the act of ungulates (including giraffes, camels, cattle, etc.) chewing on another species skeletal remains to gain nutrition (particularly minerals such as phosphorus and calcium) that may be lacking in other parts of their largely vegetarian diets.  This includes the chewing of antlers, horns and ivory, as well as skeletal elements.  It is a relatively well documented animal behaviour that occurs across numerous taxa and across continents.

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I’ve been meaning to highlight this article by Hutson et al. (2013) for a while as it nicely illustrates the actions of animals in the archaeological record that can sometimes be interpreted, or mistaken, for a human or taphonomic origin.  Hutson et al. (2013) discusses the impact that ostephagia can have on archaeological contexts and carefully identifies the differences between large and small ungulate osteophagia-based actions.  Taking 12 individual and observed case studies of osteophagia examples recovered from…

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Does this ancient Greek cup depict the constellations?

Unearthed

A wine cup which dates back to 625 BC portrays a variety of animals in a seemingly random arrangement. Though this was thought just to be an odd piece of decoration, researcher John Barnes thinks otherwise, and suggests these animals are actually ancient constellations.

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Halloween Horrors: Evidence of Torture in the Prehistoric Southwest US

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The encoded messages on the 9,500 year old wooden idol

Unearthed

Discovered in a peat bog in Siberia, a massive 9,500 year old wooden idol was discovered. As we know, those bogs preserve everything so well, and wood is no exception.

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Woolly Rhino skull discovered in UK

Unearthed

It’s rare to discover an intact Pleistocene animal skull, yet that’s just what happened in Cambridgeshire, where a digger driver came across a woolly Rhino skull, dating back at least 35,000 years ago.

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The mystery of the “Big Circles”

Unearthed

This sounds like a case for the Hardy Boys or Scooby-Doo, or some detectives at least. A series of 11 similar stone circles have been captured from the air, and have archaeologists going “huh?”

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Aluminum Debris Identified as Amelia Earhart Artifact

Sexy Archaeology

Earhart-Aluminum-Sheet

A piece of aluminum recovered from Nikumaroro, an uninhabited atoll in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, has been identified to a high degree of certainty as a patch that had been applied to Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra on a stop during her attempt to circumnavigate the globe. The repair can been seen in a photograph published in the Miami Herald on June 1, 1937. The aluminum debris was discovered on the island in 1991 by researchers from The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR). They compared the patch’s dimensions and features with the window of a Lockheed Electra being restored at Wichita Air Services in Newton, Kansas. “Its complex fingerprint of dimensions, proportions, materials and rivet patterns was as unique to Earhart’s Electra as a fingerprint is to an individual,” Rick Gillespie, executive director of TIGHAR, told Discovery News. He adds that the piece of the plane provides strong…

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