Predators and scavengers in Early Pleistocene southern Asia

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Abstract

Although several large carnivores are recognised in the Early Pleistocene of southern Asia, little is known about their predatory vs. scavenging behaviour, or their chief prey. Here, we present new, late Pliocene to late Early Pleistocene data from the Pabbi Hills, Pakistan. Although carnivore remains were rare, several were found associated with large fossil accumulations that probably represent feeding areas. The main Early Pleistocene carnivores were the hyaenid Crocuta crocuta (sometimes called C. sivalensis) and the giant hyaenid Pachycrocuta brevirostris, which was probably responsible for the largest fossil accumulations away from river channels. The large felids Megantereon and Panthera uncia were also present. Other carnivores (small canids, a large canid, Canis cautleyi [present prior to 1.7 Ma] and ursids) were probably unimportant as predators. Crocodiles and/or gavials were the main riverine predators. Comparisons are drawn with the behaviour of Pachycrocuta at Venta Micena, Spain, and Longgupo and Zhoukoudian, China. It is concluded that P. brevirostris was the main accumulator and modifier of fossil remains in the Pabbi Hills and these other sites, and also consumed carcasses in prime condition. While it probably hunted, the possibility that it captured uneaten or partially eaten carcasses from large felids cannot be excluded. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.

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Dennell, R. W., Coard, R., & Turner, A. (2008). Predators and scavengers in Early Pleistocene southern Asia. Quaternary International, 192(1), 78–88. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2007.06.023

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