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Hyénidés modernes et fossiles d'Europe et d'Afrique : taphonomie comparée de leurs assemblages osseux

Abstract : (Crocuta crocuta spelaea GOLDFUSS) is a carnivore particularly studied in taphonomy. For the XIXth century, the recognition of the role played by large predators, and more particularly the (cave) hyena, in bone assemblage formation, allowed to precise main ecological and evolutionary trends of these carnivores (cave occupation, consumption of bones, predation vs scavenging, interspecific competition, Humans-Carnivores interaction). The behavior of the fossil spotted hyena (accumulator of bones, osteophagy) is mainly based on the development of the ecological and neotaphonomic works since the 1970s. The present work concerns a paleontological and taphonomic survey of Modern and Pleistocene Hyenids. A first part is dedicated to the synthetic presentation of the 3 main genera (Crocuta, Hyaena, Parahyaena) concerning their systematics, biogeography and osteometrics. This last point, particularly developed, allows to confirm on one hand the fluctuations in body mass of hyenas in connection with climate change and on the other hand the difficulty estimating the sexual dimorphism from cranial and postcranial elements. A second part concerns the study of 14 modern and fossil bone samples produced by Hyenids. Modern samples (6 dens and 3 kill-sites) come from different ecological and geographical contexts (Republic of Djibuti, South Africa). Dens are as follows : Crocuta : Dumali (Ungulate NISP = 421), Heraide (Ungulate NISP = 216), Yangula Ari (Ungulate NISP = 133), Oboley (Ungulate NISP = 259) ; Hyaena : Datagabou (Ungulate NISP = 352) ; Parahyaena : Uniab (Ungulate NISP = 568). Kill-sites are as follows : Crocuta : Ali Daba : Ungulate NISP = 40 ; Dumali : Ungulate NISP = 185 ; Heraide : Ungulate NISP = 460). The taphonomic analysis of these bone samples allows to characterize modifications produced by modern Hyenids. This model is then taken into account in the study of 5 unpublished fossil spotted hyena dens of : Artenac c10 (MIS 5c ; Ungulate NISP = 1301), Peyre (MIS 5e ; Ungulate NISP = 2815), Grotte aux Puces, réseau supérieur (100ka ; Ungulate NISP = 2360), Fouvent (MIS 3 ; Ungulate NISP = 3347) and Conives (MIS 3 ; 1717). To characterize objectively the taphonomic signature of fossil hyenas, two other older series (Middle Pleistocene), were briefly considered (Ceyssaguet (Pachycrocuta brevirostris) and Lunel-Viel 1 (Crocuta spelaea intermedia)) as well as two bone samples produced by other large Carnivores (the European jaguar (Panthera onca gombaszoegensis) of Artenac I and II and the modern wolf (Canis lupus) of Poland). Comparisons of those bone assemblages created by Hyenids (modern Crocuta: 139 dens, modern Hyaena: 63 dens; modern Parahyaena: 68 dens ; Crocuta crocuta spelaea: 30 sites), Felidae and large Canids allow to reconsider the criteria of characterization usually used in archaeological Taphonomy. It seems that Carnivores share common taphonomic characteristics (toothmark morphometry, morphotypes of consumption, sketelal parts of preys), and ttherefore those criteria donot appear favorable to a specific or/and generic identification of Carnivores having consumed bones. The (fossil) hyena osteophagic behavior distinguishes itself from that of the other large predators by: an important production of shaft fragments, the recurring presence of coprolithes and finally a high number of ingested bones. Among the latter, the anatomical spectrum of regurgitated elements on one hand as well as their degree of dissolution mattering on the other hand characterizes significantly the paleontological series produced voluntarily by hyenas These criteria could constitute the elements of diagnosis taphonomique the most interesting.
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Jean-Baptiste Fourvel. Hyénidés modernes et fossiles d'Europe et d'Afrique : taphonomie comparée de leurs assemblages osseux. Archéologie et Préhistoire. Université Toulouse le Mirail - Toulouse II, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012TOU20145⟩. ⟨tel-00830276⟩

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