23 Ağustos 2009 Pazar

Relevance of aquatic environments for hominins: a case study

Journal of Human Evolution, doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2009.06.003

J.C.A. Joordens, F.P. Wesselingh, J. de Vos, H.B. Vonhof, D. Kroon

A b s t r a c t

Knowledge about dietary niche is key to understanding hominin evolution, since diet influences body

proportions, brain size, cognition, and habitat preference. In this study we provide ecological context for

the current debate on modernity (or not) of aquatic resource exploitation by hominins.We use the Homo

erectus site of Trinil as a case study to investigate how research questions on possible dietary relevance of

aquatic environments can be addressed. Faunal and geochemical analysis of aquatic fossils from Trinil

Hauptknochenschicht (HK) fauna demonstrate that Trinil atw1.5 Ma contained near-coastal rivers, lakes,

swamp forests, lagoons, and marshes with minor marine influence, laterally grading into grasslands.

Trinil HK environments yielded at least eleven edible mollusc species and four edible fish species that

could be procured with no or minimal technology. We demonstrate that, from an ecological point of

view, the default assumption should be that omnivorous hominins in coastal habitats with catchable

aquatic fauna could have consumed aquatic resources. The hypothesis of aquatic exploitation can be

tested with taphonomic analysis of aquatic fossils associated with hominin fossils. We show that

midden-like characteristics of large bivalve shell assemblages containing Pseudodon and Elongaria from

Trinil HK indicate deliberate collection by a selective agent, possibly hominin.

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