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Towards the identification of a new taphonomic agent: An analysis of bone accumulations obtained from modern Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) nests

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Abstract

This paper presents the results of a study of bones recovered in various current Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) nests in a Mediterranean region of the Iberian Peninsula. The Egyptian vulture, a diurnal, scavenging, rupicolous bird of prey, is one of four vulture species that currently inhabit the Iberian Peninsula. An analysis of the remains found in the nests confirms that it has a heterogeneous diet that includes remains from human activities (butchery and food production) and the carcasses of dead animals, although it is possible that they also prey on small-sized taxa. The taphonomic study determines these birds' capability of transporting, accumulating and altering bone remains. Some of the elements show marks caused by beak and/or claw impacts brought about primarily during feeding, which have characteristic typologies. Despite the fact that this is not a bone-eating vulture, it can also be seen that some bones are swallowed. The characteristics of the bone set studied here are important for establishing the origin of bone accumulations on archaeological sites. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.

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Sanchis Serra, A., Real Margalef, C., Morales Pérez, J. V., Pérez Ripoll, M., Tormo Cuñat, C., Carrión Marco, Y., … Villaverde Bonilla, V. (2014). Towards the identification of a new taphonomic agent: An analysis of bone accumulations obtained from modern Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) nests. Quaternary International, 330(1), 136–149. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2013.10.047

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