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Gennady Bolshakov
Gennady Bolshakov

Hunted By K.M. Shea


There are several lines of evidence indicating that Neanderthals were capable hunters whose diets were dominated by meat. First is the faunal evidence from various sites, which indicates that they hunted and butchered red deer (Cervus elaphus), horse (Equus sp.), bison (Bison priscus), wooly rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis), and many other species of large and medium-sized ungulates (Patou-Mathis 2000). They focused on prime-aged adult prey, as opposed to juveniles and older adults, which are typically the target of cursorial predators (Stiner 2006). This behavior is likely to have begun 250,000 years ago or earlier, as seen at Hayonim Cave, Israel (Stiner 2005). There is also evidence that Neanderthals occasionally specialized in a single prey species, such as at Mauran, France, which is estimated to contain the remains of 4,000 bison (Farizy et al. 1994). Similarly, the fauna at La Borde, France (Jaubert et al. 1990) and Wallertheim, Germany (Gaudzinski 1995) is also dominated by bovids, and these have been interpreted as kill sites. The site of Salzgitter-Lebenstedt (Germany) seems to have been a specialized reindeer-hunting site, where reindeer were taken in the early autumn during their annual migrations. The cut-marks clearly show meat processing, and the marrow-rich bones were also processed (Gaudzinski & Roebroeks 2000, Gaudzinski 2006). The evidence from all of these sites indicates that Neanderthals were able to hunt large game and often specialized in a species at a particular location and during a particular season.




Hunted by K.M. Shea

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