Late Neandertals and the intentional removal of feathers as evidenced from bird bone taphonomy at Fumane Cave 44 ky B.P., Italy
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A large and varied avifaunal bone assemblage from the final Mousterian levels of Grotta di Fumane, northern Italy, reveals unusual human modifications on species that are not clearly relatable to feeding or utilitarian uses (i.e., lammergeier, Eurasian black vulture, golden eagle, red-footed falcon, common wood pigeon, and Alpine chough). Cut, peeling, and scrape marks, as well as diagnostic fractures and a breakthrough, are observed exclusively on wings, indicating the intentional removal of large feathers by Neandertals. The species involved, the anatomical elements affected, and the unusual type and location of the human modifications indicate an activity linked to the symbolic sphere and the behavioral modernity of this European autochthonous population.
Cut Marks, Raptors, Symbolism, Middle Paleolithic
PNAS, Vol. 108, no. 10 (2011).
Persani, Marco; Fiore, Ivana; and Gala, Monica, "Late Neandertals and the intentional removal of feathers as evidenced from bird bone taphonomy at Fumane Cave 44 ky B.P., Italy" (2011). KIP Articles. 3110.