Lagomorph predation represented in a middle Palaeolithic level of the Navalmaíllo Rock Shelter site (Pinilla del Valle, Spain), as inferred via a new use of classical taphonomic criteria


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January 2017


Lagomorph remains at Pleistocene sites may accumulate through the action of hominins, raptors or carnivores. Actualistic studies have described reliable taphonomic indicators that allow human and non-human involvement in such accumulations to be distinguished. However, discriminating between possible animal predators is not easy, because the prey remnants they leave may undergo the same kinds of taphonomic transformation. The main aim of the present work was to identify the agent, human or non-human, that accumulated the lagomorph remains at the Navalmaíllo Rock Shelter site (Pinilla del Valle, Madrid). For this, 1) established taphonomic criteria, such as anatomical representation, were taken into account, 2) the presence of infant lagomorphs was examined by determining the age of the individual animals, 3) and coprolite remains adhered to fossils were identified. This new use of the latter two criteria aided in the identification of the predator responsible for the accumulation of remains. The results suggest that this was a small carnivore, probably an Iberian lynx.


Middle Palaeolithic, Taphonomy, Lagomorphs, Non-Human Predators, Deciduous Teeth, Coprolites

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Quaternary International, Vol. 436, no. Part A (2017).