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Bennett’s wallaby marrow quality vs quantity: Evaluating human decision-making and seasonal occupation in late Pleistocene Tasmania Jillian Garvey Archaeology.

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Presentation on theme: "Bennett’s wallaby marrow quality vs quantity: Evaluating human decision-making and seasonal occupation in late Pleistocene Tasmania Jillian Garvey Archaeology."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bennett’s wallaby marrow quality vs quantity: Evaluating human decision-making and seasonal occupation in late Pleistocene Tasmania Jillian Garvey Archaeology Program, La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia

2 Archaeology of Late Pleistocene SW Tasmania First site identified during the late 1970s- KUTIKINA CAVE. Kutikina excavated by Rhys Jones and colleagues 1981 (Kiernan et al. Nature 1983:31). Followed by the Southern Forests Archaeological Project in 1990s by La Trobe University (Richard Cosgrove, Jim Allen and colleagues) excavated several more caves. e.g. Nunamira, Bone Cave, Warreen, Pallawa Trounta In 2005 the Kutikina faunal assemblage was analysed. Recent Bennett’s wallaby teeth annuli studies indicate seasonal use of the landscape (Pike-Tay, Cosgrove & Garvey 2008 JAS). Top left hand corner: map of Australia with the southern island state of Tasmania shaded. Main figure: Tasmania with southwest region indicated and Kutikina Cave marked by the star. Kutikina

3 SW Settlement Pattern & Chronology (Uncal 14C) 35,000-10,000BP Warreen 34,780-18,630 Parmerpar Meethaner 34, ORS 7 30, ,500 Nunamira 30, ,630 Bone Cave 29, ,700 Pallawa Trounta 29, ,410 Kutikina Cave 19, ,840 Mackintosh 17,000 Parmerpar Meethaner >950,000 bones analysed Bennett’s wallabies dominate Preference for the larger hindlimbs Femora and tibiae always split open Southwest Tasmania characterised by:

4 Kutikina Cave excavated 1981 Kutikina Cave: 1m 2 wide, 1.3m deep excavated in 3 units Volume cubic metres, wet sieved (3mm) 11 C14 dates- 22,000-15,000 (LGM) Only published paper on Kutikina excavation or analysis was preliminary report in 1983 Nature: approx 250,000 bones & 30,000 stone tools. Unpublished preliminary report on faunal sample by Geering Jones 1987 Tasmania was joined to mainland Australia during the late Pleistocene 1981 Kutikina excavation Inspecting Kutikina Cave, 1981

5 Similar: Stone tools Hearths (fireplaces) Hunting patterns Butchering patterns Parallels between Northern and Southern Hemisphere’s during LGM Bennett’s wallaby Macropus rufogriseus “The specific targetting onto reindeer by the European hunters bears comparison with the similar emphasis on wallabies by subsub-Antarctic palaeo-Tasmanians” (Kiernan et al. Nature 1983:31).

6 Bennett’s wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus) Also known as the Red- necked wallaby Small wallaby weighing 10-15kg Found in SE mainland Australia & Tasmania In Tasmania: –Seasonal breeders –Widespread distribution Common in zoos and as pets in Europe & Nth America: –quiet nature –easy to breed –excellent lawnmowers Kangaroo skeleton Male Red kangaroo (70kg) with female grey (45kg) Female (10kg) Bennett’s wallaby Tamar wallaby (8kg) with joey

7 Typical spit from Kutikina- Bennett’s wallaby dominates

8 269,459 bone fragments, weighing 46.11kg were analysed (Garvey 2006). 28,210 or 12% identified to taxon &/or element. 21 species identified, 13 of which are potential human prey taxa. Of the potential prey BW >92% (MNI 44), Wombats <7% (MNI 10), minor medium elements. Emu and grey kangaroo identified Kutikina results

9 Kutikina Cave Bennett’s wallaby ( >75%) Wombat (7%) kangaroo & emu small mammals medium mammals bones relatively complete = owls -humans? -devil, thylacine or quolls? -natural death ? humans selected whole animals humans selected certain elements such as the lower long bones humans selected entire wombats Taphonomic history Images from Van Dyck & Strahan 2008

10 Bennett ’ s wallaby represents <92% of the identified fauna NISP 6662, MNI 44 (per Unit) -Hindlimb dominates. -Axial and manus under represented. -Numerous cut marks on hindlimbs. -Tibiae and femora always smashed open. -4 th and 5 th metatarsals, large phalanges, calcaneum often smashed open. Bennett ’ s wallaby Representation of Bennett’s wallaby body parts in the three Units at Kutikina Cave. NB if the wallabies were brought back to the cave whole you would expect an even distribution along the 0 line. Garvey 2006 % of Bennett’s wallaby body parts at Kutikina Cave

11 Kutikina wallaby bones cut marks chop? marks percussion access marrow bone point size range cut mark location A A D A A B C A- distal tibia B- fibula C- pes phalange D- distal humerus access marrow Garvey 200x

12 Why the dominance of Bennett’s wallaby split hindlimb longbones? 1. Marrow/meat quality? and/or 2. Marrow/meat quantity? and/or 3.Processing time?

13 Marrow and meat quantity was evaluated by Garvey 2010 Quaternary International 211(1-2): It seemed that humans were not under selective pressure concerning which parts of the animals they transported. Ignored some of the larger ‘meaty’ elements such as the sacrum, preferring the hindlimbs which were found to not only carry large amounts of flesh but also the greatest volume of bone marrow. Marrow and meat quantity: economic utility

14 Garvey 2010, Quaternary International 211(1-2): Bennett’s wallaby economic utility: Meat Utility Index (MUI) WHERE: CAU- caudal, CER- cervical, CLA- clavicle, CRA- cranial, FEM- femur, HUM- humerus, LUM- lumbar, MAND- mandible, MANU- manus, PEL- pelvis, PES- pes, RIB- rib, SAC- sacrum, SCA- scapula, STE- sternum, TIB- tibia, THO- thoracic, ULN- ulna The %MUI for the 4 wallabies and the mean. indicates the highest body part.

15 WHERE: CAU- caudal, CER- cervical, CLA- clavicle, CRA- cranial, FEM- femur, HUM- humerus, LUM- lumbar, MAND- mandible, MANU- manus, PEL- pelvis, PES- pes, RIB- rib, SAC- sacrum, SCA- scapula, STE- sternum, TIB- tibia, THO- thoracic, ULN- ulna Where RED- high in meat/marrow & common in Kutikina; BLUE- those high in meat/marrow & rare in Kutikina Garvey 2010, Quaternary International 211(1-2): Bennett’s wallaby economic utility: Minimum Number of Animals (MAU) vs Meat Utility Index (MUI)

16 Marrow and meat quality: marrow composition Fatty acid analysis, in particular oleic acid (a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid), argued to be a good indicator of unsaturated fat quality (Binford 1978). It has been found that in caribou, and ungulates in general, unsaturated fats increase as you move away from the body core temperature or the heart (Meng et al. 1969; West and Shaw 1975). High % unsaturated fatty acids in the distal limbs causes lowering a of melting temperature and oiler marrow (Irving et al. 1957; Morin 2007). While extensive work has occurred on ungulates, there has been no analysis of marsupial bone marrow. –Test to see if a similar pattern occurs in the Bennett’s wallaby. –How does age, sex, altitude, and season effect bone marrow quality?

17 Marrow and tissue composition Total Fat (FOLCH) and Fatty Acid Profile (FAMES) determined. 14 fatty acids measured per sample. Fatty acid concentration of wallaby bone marrow decreased in saturated fats distally Largest fatty acid changes occurred in the monounsaturated Oleic acid (C 18=1) and Palmitoleic (C16:1) both increased distally Saturated Palmitic acid (C16:0) and Stearic acid (C18:0) both decreased accordingly These results are similar to that identified in caribou Rangifer tarandus (Meng et al. 1969), Dall sheep Ovis dalli (West and Shaw 1975), and in the desert bighorn sheep Ovis canadensis cremnobates (Turner 1979).

18 Distribution of unsaturated fatty acids in the Bennett’s wallaby after Meng et al. 1969; © 2010 Falling Pixel ltd After Hume et al Morin 2007 Caribou Bennett’s wallaby Wallaby

19 Bennett’s Wallaby Hindlimb Note: the dark red saturated fat in the femur marrow, with the unsaturated marrow very pale in the distal tibia, i.e. increase in unsaturated fatty acids as you move away from the body core temperature or the heart. D C B A

20 Wallaby Collection Areas Buckland m.a.s.l. -open dry sclerophyll -variable climate -warm to hot summers -cool to cold winters Maydena m.a.s.l. -wet sclerophyll -high rainfall -warm summers & cool winters Western Tiers m.a.s.l. -alpine grasslands & herbfields -cool summers & cold winters Tissue samples collected per wallaby (where possible): 1) tibia marrow 2) brain tissue 3) femur tissue Seasonal variation: 1) Summer collection- February ) Autumn collection- May ) Winter collection- July ) Spring collection- October 2008 Note: the same 3 control areas as wallaby seasonal teeth annuli study by Pike-Tay et al. 2008, JAS Western Tiers Buckland Maydena

21 Collecting road kill 27 individual wallabies tested: 8 Buckland (4M & 4F) 9 Maydena (4M & 5F) 10 Western Lakes (5M & 5F) 3 samples per wallaby (where possible) -Brain tissue -Hindlimb muscle -Distal tibia marrow Collecting brain sample Collecting marrow sample Collecting muscle sample After Hume et al. 1987

22 Fatty acid results for the three collection areas mean max temperature (oC) mean min temperature ( o C) mean rainfall (mm) S- summer A- autumn W- winter Sp- spring Meat Marrow Brain Numbers on graph bars refer to individual wallabies

23 Preliminary conclusions Bennett’s wallaby remained stable and reliable resource throughout the year irrespective of: –Season –Rainfall –Temperature –Sex –Age

24 Future work Then how do we explain hunting, butchery and seasonal patterns observed in late Pleistocene SW Tasmania? Future work: Processing time & butchery practices –Ethnographic –Experimental Other commodities –Bone tools –Fur Bone Density –Scientific evaluation –However tiny complete rodent bones indicates excellent preservation Human physiology & the role of fatty acids –Environmental stress –Sex, age, pregnancy, breastfeeding, etc Photo: R. Cosgrove

25 Acknowledgements Tasmanian Aboriginal Land & Sea Council (TALSC) and Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery (TMAG), Hobart. Rudy Frank, Peter Saad & Wei Ming, LTU, for technical assistance. Tiffany Liew, Seema Siddiqui & Grammatis Tsintzoglou for dissecting the wallabies in Georgia Bennett, Tiffany Liew, Richard Cosgrove, Coral Montero Lopez & Anthony Dall’Oste for collecting roadkill in 2008/2009. Helpful discussions with Richard Cosgrove, Anne Warren, Mike Archer, Eugene Morin, Jim O’Connell and reviewers of JAS paper La Trobe University Research Grant for the economic anatomy and fatty acid analysis. LTU Postdoctoral Fellowship

26 References Binford, L.R., Nunamiut Ethnoarchaeology. New York, Academic Press. Garvey, J., Preliminary zooarchaeological interpretations from Kutikina Cave, southwest Tasmania. Australian Aboriginal Studies 2006(1), Garvey, J., Surviving an Ice Age: the zooarchaeology from southwest Tasmania. Palaios 22, Garvey, J., Economic anatomy of the Bennett’s wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus): implications for understanding human hunting strategies in late Pleistocene Tasmania. Quaternary International 211, Hume, I.D., Jarman, P.J., Renfree, M.B., Temple-Smith, P.D., Chapter 29: Macropodidae, in: Walton, D.W., Richardson, B.J. (Eds.), Fauna of Australia, Volume 1B Mammalia. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, pp Jones, R., 1987 Ice-age hunters of the Tasmanian wilderness, Australian Geographic Oct/Dec 87: Kiernan, K., Jones, R., Ranson, D New evidence from Fraser Cave for glacial age man in south-west Tasmania, Nature 301: Meng, M.S., West, G.C., Irving, L., Fatty acid composition of caribou bone marrow. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 30, , Morin, E., Fat composition and Nunamiut decision-making: a new look at the marrow and bone grease indices. Journal of Archaeological Science 34, Pike-Tay, A., Cosgrove, R., Garvey, J Systematic seasonal land use by late Pleistocene Tasmanian Aborigines. Journal of Archaeological Science. 35(9), Van Dyck, S. Strahan, R., The mammals of Australia, 3 rd Edition. Reed New Holland, Sydney. Turner, J.C., Adaptive strategies of selective fatty acid deposition in the bone marrow of desert bighorn sheep. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 62A, West, G., Shaw, D., Fatty acid composition of Dall sheep bone marrow. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 50B,


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