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111 Taphonomic factors affecting the bone assemblage at the Lange/Ferguson site must be considered in determining whether the presence of modified bone is attributable to cultural or natural (i.e., animal or geological) processes. The broken bone controversy is based on the assumption that before altered bones are accepted as evidence for the presence of humans, counterhypotheses that could explain the observed morphology must be discounted (cf. Binford 1981, 1982, 1983). A composite model based on the work of J. Clark and Kietzke (1967) and Hanson (1980) (fig. 47) has been developed to present the complex suite of variables that accrue, affecting the taphonomic evidence in a specific burial circumstance . The model is discussed below with specific data from the Lange/Ferguson site. The entry point of the model, identified as a biocoenosis (assemblage of living organisms), is shaped by overlapping factors such as range and population density of a species, ecological niche, competition, and osteological construction of the specific species (J. Clark and Kietzke 1967:115). The osteological construction factor is of particular importance in considering the robustness of skeletal elements and their potential survival in entering the fossil record. The long bone elements of proboscideans are recognized to be uniquely thick walled. The large adult mammoth at Lange/Ferguson produced measurements approaching 5 cm in thickness (periosteum to endosteum ) on long bone diaphyseal shaft walls (see fig. 46). Thanatic factors that pertain to the death of an animal include the cause of death, locus of death, and age at death (J. Clark and Kietzke 1967:115–117), all of which contribute Taphonomic Evidence at Lange/Ferguson chapter seven L. Adrien Hannus Figure 47. Model of factors and assemblages pertaining to the taphonomic history of vertebrate (mammoth) fossils to be considered in this chapter (modified after J. Clark and Kietzke 1967:fig. 53; Hanson 1980:fig. 9.1). 112 Chapter Seven to the potential for preservation. The Lange/Ferguson assemblage includes one nearly complete adult mammoth (see fig. 9), calculated to have been approximately 30–35 years of age at death (Martin 1987:326), and limited skeletal elements of a juvenile mammoth. Geomorphological , paleoenvironmental, and paleontological evidence indicates that the large adult mammoth was mired in the spring-fed fen at the time of death. Archaeological analysis of the remains revealed that the dorsal anatomical units of the animal were subsequently butchered. Perthotaxic factors are those that accompany or follow the death of an organism and occur prior to burial or destruction of the remains. These include initial weathering and predation and scavenging pressures (non­human and/or human). These factors contribute directly to flesh removal from the carcass and the dismemberment sequence (J. Clark and Kietzke 1967:117). The osseous material from Lange/Ferguson is largely devoid of weathering evidence; at the time of excavation and stabilization it exhibited little evidence other than the minimal weathering effected during the postdepositional (burial) period, activated by wet-dry, freeze-thaw cycles. The most severely weathered elements were several ribs and vertebrae along with three bone flakes, which were excavated from the area of the spring conduit (XU C/D-00/1E) (fig. 48); these elements were sealed in a consolidated sand matrix. Additional bone elements that exhibit progressive weathering are the segment of the acetabular fossa found exposed on the south face of the Locality A butte in the summer of 1980 (see fig. 1) and the right femur collected by Les Ferguson in 1960. Exposure of the femur caused drying, desiccation , and warping to occur, resulting in mid-diaphysis shaft failure. The other elements of the forelimbs and hind limbs, scapulae, vertebrae, pelvis, cranium, mandible, and teeth of the adult mammoth exhibit minor weathering that can be characterized as between Behrensmeyer’s Stage 0 and Stage 1 (see C. V. Haynes, chapter 3, this volume , for additional discussion on weathering). In Stage 1, bone shows cracking, normally parallel to the fiber structure (e.g., longitudinal in long bones). Articular surfaces may show mosaic cracking of covering tissue as well as in the bone itself. Fat, skin, and other tissue may or may not be present (Behrensmeyer 1978:151). At Lange/Ferguson, some mosaic cracking occurred on segments of mammoth elements that were near the erosional edge of the butte. The long bone elements from the main bonebed concentration in the butte’s interior did not display the split-line cracking characteristic of more progressively weathered surfaces. The anatomical position of the adult mammoth was such that the forelimbs...


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