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Taphonomic Analysis of Amphibian and Squamate Remains from El Harhoura 2 (Rabat-Témara, Morocco): Contributions to Palaeoecological and Archaeological Interpretations

Authors

  • E. Stoetzel,

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    • Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Département de Préhistoire - UMR 7194, Paris, France
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  • C. Denys,

    1. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Département Systématique et Evolution - UMR 7205, Laboratoire de Zoologie Mammifères et Oiseaux, Paris, France
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  • S. Bailon,

    1. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Département de Préhistoire - UMR 7194, Paris, France
    2. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Département Ecologie et Gestion de la Biodiversité - UMR 7209, Laboratoire d'Anatomie Comparée (CP56), Paris, France
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  • M. A. El Hajraoui,

    1. Institut National des Sciences de l'Archéologie et du Patrimoine, Angle rues 5 et 7 Rabat instituts, Rabat, Morocco
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  • R. Nespoulet

    1. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Département de Préhistoire - UMR 7194, Paris, France
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Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Département de Préhistoire - UMR 7194, Bâtiment de Géologie-CP48, 43 rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France.

e-mail: stoetzel@mnhn.fr, roland

ABSTRACT

Amphibian and reptile remains found in archaeological contexts are still poorly studied, especially in North Africa. This article presents the first taphonomic analysis realised on amphibian and squamate remains coming from a North-African quaternary site. The bones were not transported/sorted by water; they were quickly buried and no significant perturbation occurred within deposits. The main origin of the amphibian and squamate assemblages is predation, although some animals probably died in the cave from natural causes. A comparison with taphonomic data from small mammals of the same cave gave more accurate taphonomic and reliable palaeoecological interpretation of the site. This study also highlights the numerous problems of interpretation linked to the lack of taphonomic referentials based on predator pellets/scats and on weathering/burying experiments in North Africa. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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