New evidence of broader diets for archaicHomopopulations in the northwestern Mediterranean Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Investigating diet breadth is critical for understanding how archaicHomopopulations, including Neanderthals, competed for seasonally scarce resources. The current consensus in Western Europe is that ungulates formed the bulk of the human diet during the Lower and Middle Paleolithic, while small fast prey taxa were virtually ignored. Here, we present a multisite taphonomic study of leporid assemblages from Southern France that supports frequent exploitation of small fast game during marine isotope stages 11 to 3. Along with recent evidence from Iberia, our results indicate that the consumption of small fast game was more common prior to the Upper Paleolithic than previously thought and that archaic hominins from the northwestern Mediterranean had broader diets than those from adjacent regions. Although likely of secondary importance relative to ungulates, the frequent exploitation of leporids documented here implies that human diet breadths were substantially more variable within Europe than assumed by current evolutionary models.

authors

  • Morin, E
  • Meier, J
  • El Guennouni, K
  • Moigne, A-M
  • Lebreton, L
  • Rusch, L
  • Valensi, P
  • Conolly, James
  • Cochard, D

publication date

  • March 2019