2 Matching Annotations
  1. Jan 2023
    1. The obvious event is the so-called ‘bonne saison’, a French zooarchaeological term for the time at the end of winter when rivers unfreeze, the snow melts, and the landscape begins to green. This of course varies by several weeks from the south to the north of Europe, but corresponds approximately to late spring. We hypothesize that spring, therefore, with its obvious signals of the end of winter and corresponding faunal migrations to breeding grounds, would have provided an obvious, if regionally differing, point of origin for the lunar calendar.
  2. Jul 2022
    1. Multiple large-bodied species went extinct during the Pleistocene. Changing climates and/or human hunting are the main hypotheses used to explain these extinctions. We studied the causes of Pleistocene extinctions in the Southern Levant, and their subsequent effect on local hominin food spectra, by examining faunal remains in archaeological sites across the last 1.5 million years. We examined whether climate and climate changes, and/or human cultures, are associated with these declines. We recorded animal abundances published in the literature from 133 stratigraphic layers, across 58 Pleistocene and Early Holocene archaeological sites, in the Southern Levant. We used linear regressions and mixed models to assess the weighted mean mass of faunal assemblages through time and whether it was associated with temperature, paleorainfall, or paleoenvironment (C3 vs. C4 vegetation). We found that weighted mean body mass declined log-linearly through time. Mean hunted animal masses 10,500 years ago, were only 1.7% of those 1.5 million years ago. Neither body size at any period, nor size change from one layer to the next, were related to global temperature or to temperature changes. Throughout the Pleistocene, new human lineages hunted significantly smaller prey than the preceding ones. This suggests that humans extirpated megafauna throughout the Pleistocene, and when the largest species were depleted the next-largest were targeted. Technological advancements likely enabled subsequent human lineages to effectively hunt smaller prey replacing larger species that were hunted to extinction or until they became exceedingly rare.

      We must be careful of overgeneralizing sustainable practices to our early ancestors as the evidence from this research shows that we were not always sustainability-minded. In fact, the evidence suggests that when we find the biggest edible prey fauna species, we hunt them to extinction (extirpate) and when they are no longer able to reproduce in sustainable numbers, we move on to the next largest species. In this way, our early ancestors were the first progenitors of progress traps.