Structural density assays of leporid skeletal elements with implications for taphonomic, actualistic and archaeological research

  • Pavao B
  • Stahl P
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Abstract

Structural density assays of standardized bone scan sites are provided from six skeletons of four leporid taxa, including European or domestic rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), Eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus), snowshoe hare (Lepus canadensis) and black-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus californicus). The results are discussed via comparison to published density figures for roughly similar-sized North American marmots (Marmota spp.). In the absence of reliable leporid density assays, archaeologists have substituted these figures as appropriate proxy measures. However, the data indicate important differences between leporid and marmot structural density assays, which can be considered as the expression of underlying anatomical dissimilarities. The implications of these results for assessing predator accumulation through application to published taphonomic and actualistic studies of leporid remains undertaken primarily in the Great Basin of the western United States, and for analyses of faunal assemblages in the American Southwest, are explored.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Leporidae
  • Marmots
  • Photon absorptiometry
  • Structural density
  • Taphonomy
  • Zooarchaeology

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Authors

  • Barnet Pavao

  • Peter W. Stahl

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