Charognage ou chasse ?

Les premiers humains étaient-ils plutôt chasseurs ou plutôt charognards ? La question est très débattue depuis 1981 et la parution du livre de Lewis Binford, Bones : ancient men and modern myths. La thèse de Binford était que la chasse aux grands animaux n’apparaît chez les humains qu’au début de la dernière période glaciaire (vers -100 000 ans), et que jusque-là, les humains étaient surtout des charognards passifs (pour la différence entre charognage passif et actif, voir mon article C’est une bonne situation, ça, charognard ? [Article]). Bien que de nombreuses publications aient depuis suggéré que les humains pratiquaient déjà soit le charognage actif, soit la chasse aux grands animaux, depuis en gros 2 millions d’années, avec une forte présomption sur la chasse après -2 millions d’années et l’apparition d’Homo erectus, Binford est encore convoqué régulièrement contre l’idée d’une humanité chasseuse de longue date.

Synthèses de la controverse

Pas un article de synthèse en soi, mais la (longue) introduction donne une idée du foisonnement et de la complexité de la question, ainsi que de la difficulté de donner des réponses précises, notamment pour les périodes les plus anciennes.

A taphonomic analysis of PTK (Bed I, Olduvai Gorge) and its bearing on the interpretation of the dietary and eco-spatial behaviors of early humans [Texte]
Organista et al.
Quaternary Sciences, 2023

The abundance of juvenile individuals extends our understanding, as in Kanjera (Kenya), about the hunting skills of early Homo sensu lato. The increasing number of sites, where bulk defleshing of small and medium-sized carcasses took place is underscoring the importance of meat in the diets of some of the early hominins, and their patterned use of the space for food processing and consumption.

Using machine learning on new feature sets extracted from 3D models of broken animal bones to classify fragments according to break agent [PDF]
Yeddzi-Woodley et al., 2022

The zooarchaeology and paleoecology of early hominin scavenging [PDF]
Briana L. Pobiner
Evolutionary anthropology, 2020

Questions about the timing, frequency, resource yield, and behavioral and biological implications of large animal carcass acquisition by early hominins have been a part of thehunting-scavenging debatefor decades. This article presents a brief outline of this debate, reviews the zooarchaeological and modern ecological evidence for a possible scavenging niche among the earliest animal tissue-consuming hominins (pre-2.0 Ma), revisits some of the questions that this debate has generated, and outlines some ways to explore answers to those questions with evidence from the archaeological record.

What where they up against? Lower paleolithic hominin meat acquisition and competition with plio-pleistocene carnivores [PDF]
Starkovich & Conard
In Human behavioural adaptations to interglacial lakeshore environments, 2020

though scientists have documented earlier cases, there seems to be a marked increase in evidence for meat acquisition between 1.8 and 1.5 Ma in both Africa and Eurasia. It is possible that early hominins used a combination of passive and confrontational scavenging to access meat during this period, and we do not exclude the possibility that they also occasionally hunted. The second conclusion is that after 500,000 BP, we see extremely strong evidence for hominin hunting. This also might have occurred before this time, but
there are more examples after this time period over a wide geographic range.
[…] Other recent studies that apply the actualistic observations developed over the last few decades seem to agree with Bunn’s original hypothesis, that hominins started gaining early access to meat between about 2.0 and 1.5 Ma, and it became increasingly
important after this time.

L’article ne porte pas spécialement sur le charognage des premiers humains, mais l’introduction en parle brièvement.

“Neanderthals, vitamin C, and scurvy”[PDF]
John D. Speth
Quaternary international, 2019

Though the scavenging scenario was widely persuasive in both scholarly and popular circles, especially in discussions of early hominins, but also with regard to Neanderthals, it began to crumble in the 1990s. Armed with new ideas and innovative methods of analysis, zooarchaeologists brought forth compelling evidence that hominins across the span of the Pleistocene had early or primary access to carcasses.

Charognage chez les préhumains et tout premiers humains, puis finalement chasse directe durant une période d’environ 2 millions d’années.

A brief history of meat in the human diet and current health implications
Neil J. Mann[PDF]
Meat science, 2018

This ASF intake marked a transition from a largely forest dwelling frugivorous lifestyle to a more open rangeland existence and resulted in numerous adaptations, including a rapidly increasing brain size and altered gut structure.
[…] The subsequent dietary change this demanded initially involved scavenging the remains of herbivore carcases, with an eventual shift to direct hunting over a time period of approximately 2 million years. This was accompanied by subsequent physiological and metabolic adaptations that culminated in modern humans

Les humains sont à la fois plus chasseurs et plus charognards que les chimpanzés.

From Pan to Man the Hunter: Hunting and Meat Sharing by Chimpanzees, Humans, and Our Common Ancestor[PDF]
Wood & Gilby
In Chimpanzees and Human Evolution, 2018

Humans eat more meat than any other anthropoid primate, attesting to a major shift in the diet of our hominin ancestors. Hunting and meat sharing are central to hypotheses explaining the evolution of several derived human traits, including large brains, long childhoods, small guts and teeth, complex cooperation, the sexual division of labor, cooperative breeding, and the expansion of Homo spp. around the world

Shoot first, ask questions later: Interpretative narratives of Neanderthal hunting [Texte]
White et al.
Quaternary Science Reviews, 2016

This maturing picture builds on two decades of research that saw dramatic changes in our appreciation of Neanderthal hunting. After many years of being characterised as predominantly, if not obligate, scavengers (e.g. Binford, 1981, Binford, 1984, Binford, 1985, Stiner, 1991, Stiner, 1994), Neanderthals have come to be seen as capable hunters, even top-level carnivores, possessing similar capabilities in the hunting realm as Homo sapiens. As noted by Gaudzinski-Windheuser and Kindler (2012, 60), the discovery of preserved wooden spears at the late Middle Pleistocene site of Schöningen (Germany) effectively ended a research paradigm in which the ‘hunter or scavenger’ dichotomy was a major issue for debate. It has simply been assumed since that Neanderthals were (or perhaps could be is a better term) efficient hunters of large mammals.

When man met meat: meat in human nutrition from ancient times till today [PDF]
Baltic & Boskovic
Procedia food science, 2015

The diet of early hominin species was mainly based on plant (fruits, seeds, grasses, and tubers) supplemented with some animal foods. Results of paleontological and archaeological research supported theory that incorporation of larger amounts of animal proteins started with the earliest Homo. It is supposed that H. habilis obtained meat from scavenging and a smaller part by hunting, while hunting was the predominant method for H. erectus to obtain
animal proteins, and it appears to be a major adaptive shift in human evolution.

Petite synthèse dans l’introduction.

New actualistic data on the ecology and energetics of hominin scavenging opportunities [PDF]
Briana Pobiner
Journal of Human Evolution, 2015

Excluding within-bone resources, even the scavengeable meat on defleshed larger sized prey carcasses is usually substantial enough to meet the total daily caloric requirements of at least one adult male Homo erectus individual. I argue, as others have before me, that scavenging opportunities in a particular ecosystem will
vary in part due to carnivore taxon, density and guild composition; prey size, biomass and community structure; and habitat (e.g., vegetation, physiography).

How humans evolved large brains: comparative evidence [PDF]
Isler & Van Schaik
Evolutionary anthropology, 2014

In conclusion, the archeological evidence for big-game hunting or scavenging at an early stage in the evolution of the genus Homo points towards a major role of cooperative hunting, which led to male food sharing, as a trigger of the remarkable increase in hominin brain size. Provisioning and babysitting by post-reproductive females and communal nursing among breeding females may have pre- or postdated this change in lifestyle, but from the comparative evidence we suspect that female help on its own would not have allowed for the evolution of the uniquely human combination of traits that arose between 2.5 and 2
million years ago.

Research perspectives for the study of Neandertal subsistence strategies based on the analysis of archaeozoological assemblages [Texte]
Gaudzinski-Windheuser & Kindler
Quaternary International, 2012

The rising awareness of the consequences of hunting behaviour soon led to new questions addressing this strategy which developed into a new and important focus for research: faunal analysis. New methodology was developed to explain the nature and origin of a faunal accumulation. Applied to faunal assemblages from Pleistocene sites, this new methodology led to the almost immediate invalidation of previously held conceptions of our ancestors’ hunting abilities (Binford, 1985). This approach sharpened the perception of the problems encountered in discussing former subsistence strategies. Further methodology soon developed in this field (e.g. to assess scavenging opportunities (Blumenschine, 1986), population structures (Stiner, 1994), the depositional history of bones (Lyman, 1994), carcass exploitation strategies (e.g. Binford, 1981, Brain, 1981, Shipman, 1986, Domínguez-Rodrigo, 2002)) which helped to systematically view Pleistocene faunal assemblages against an ecological perspective.

This methodology successfully proved its potential, as evidenced by the changing paradigm in the field. Hunting as a way of life of our ancestors has been shown to be deeply rooted in our past, suggesting that ‘modern’ forms of behaviour already have a long evolutionary history (Gaudzinski, 2004a, Domínguez-Rodrigo et al., 2007).

The hunting-versus-scavenging debate [Abstract]
Egeland et al. (Dominguez-Rodrigo)
In Deconstructing Olduvai, 2007

However, most Africanists would now agree that some sites
were created by hominids repeatedly carrying carcass parts and stones to particular places on the landscape (Bunn, 1982, 1983a, 1991; Potts, 1982, 1988; Isaac, 1983; Bunn and Kroll, 1986; Blumenschine and Bunn, 1987; Blumenschine, 1988, 1991, 1995; Blumenschine and Marean, 1993; Bunn and Ezzo,1993; Schick and Toth, 1993; Blumenschine et al., 1994; Domínguez-Rodrigo, 1994a;
Oliver, 1994; Selvaggio, 1994; Capaldo, 1995, 1997; Rose and Marshall, 1996; Cavallo, 1998). This consensus stands as one
of the most important achievements of Plio-Pleistocene archaeological taphonomy.

Flaked stones and old bones: Biological and cultural evolution at the dawn of technology [PDF]
Thomas Plummer
American journal of biological anthropology, 2004

By 2.0 Ma, hominin rank within the predatory guild may have been moderately high, as they probably accessed meaty carcasses through hunting and confrontational scavenging, and hominin-carnivore competition appears minimal at some sites. […] Reconstruction of H. erectus reproductive energetics and socioeconomic organization suggests that reproductively active females received assistance from other group members. This inference, combined with archaeological evidence for acquisition of meaty carcasses, suggests that meat would have been a shared food.

Early Hominid Hunting and Scavenging: A Zooarcheological Review [PDF]
Dominguez-Rodrigo & Pickering
Evolutionary anthropology, 2003

. . . accurate reporting of cutmark location per bone section is vital to
inferences of the timing of hominid access to large mammal carcasses.

Hunting and Scavenging by Early Humans: The State of the Debate [PDF]
Manuel Dominguez-Rodrigo
Journal of world prehistory, 2002

Recent data based on bone surface modifications from archaeological faunas suggest, in contrast, that hominids were primary agents of carcass exploitation. Meat seems to have been an important part of Plio-Pleistocene hominid diets. Passive scavenging scenarios show that this kind of opportunistic strategy cannot afford significant meat yields. Therefore, the hunting hypothesis has not yet been disproved.

Male strategies and Plio-Pleistocene archaeology [Abstract]
O’Connell et al. (Hawkes)
Journal of human evolution, 2002

Collectively, Plio-Pleistocene site location and assemblage composition are consistent with the hypothesis that large carcasses were taken not for purposes of provisioning, but in the context of competitive male displays. Even if meat were acquired more reliably than the archaeology indicates, its consumption cannot account for the significant changes in life history now seen to distinguish early humans from ancestral australopiths. The coincidence between the earliest dates for Homo ergaster and an increase in the archaeological visibility of meat eating that many find so provocative instead reflects: (1) changes in the structure of the environment that concentrated scavenging opportunities in space, making evidence of their pursuit more obvious to archaeologists; (2) H. ergaster’s larger body size (itself a consequence of other factors), which improved its ability at interference competition.

A critique of the evidence for scavenging by Neanderthals and early modern humans: new data from Kobeh Cave (Zagros Mountains, Iran) and Die Kelders Cave 1 layer 10 (South Africa) [Abstract]
Curtiss W. Marean
Journal of Human Evolution, 1998

The primary mode of faunal exploitation by Neandertals and early modern humans remains a debated topic. Binford (1981, 1984, 1985, 1988) has argued for an obligate scavenging mode, Stiner (1991a, 1991b, 1991c, 1993, 1994) for a more opportunistic scavenging mode, while other researchers (Chase, 1986, 1988, 1989; Klein, 1989, 1994, 1995; Klein & Cruz-Uribe, 1996) deny the importance of scavenging as a faunal exploitation tactic.

Hunting and Scavenging by Plio-Pleistocene Hominids: Nutritional Constraints, Archaeological Patterns, and Behavioural Implications[Texte]
Bunn & Ezzo
Journal of world prehistory, 1993

Sabertooth cats and their relevance for early hominid diet and evolution
Curtiss W. Marean
Journal of Human Evolution, 1989

Scavenging opportunities in the closed habitat community would have been much better than in more open habitats. Homo habilis with its inferred arboreal abilities could have passively scavenged very effectively in dense woodlands and forests.

Paleoenvironmental and paleontological data indicate that these closed habitats shrunk after 1·7 million years ago and the sabertooths probably went extinct in sub-Saharan Africa. Homo habilis perhaps increasingly utilised more open habitats and would have been forced to confront large predators to gain adequate scavenging returns. Archaeological data of stone tool raw materials and site placement suggests that early hominids switched from an emphasis on dense woodland habitats to increased usage of more open habitats after 1·6 million years ago. Confrontational scavenging along with increased predation pressure may have contributed to the morphological changes associated with the shift to Homo erectus.

Were There Elephant Hunters at Torralba? [Abstract]
Lewis Binford
In Evolution of human huning, 1987

In recent years there has been growing skepticism among some students of the pre-Sapiens sapiens hominids that the earlier romantic views, which pictured early man as a mighty hunter, are an accurate construction of the past. In fact, the trend in much recent work has been to modify this view and to see as unwarranted much of the evidence previously cited in support of the “mighty hunter” view of the past. Some have begun the serious investigation of the distinct possibility that early man was more commonly a scavenger of animal carcasses than a successful predator.
[…] Recent analysis (Binford 1985; Binford and Stone 1986) of the
archaeological remains of Europe and Asia seeking to document the successful penetration of Homo erectus, or at least « erectus-grade » hominids, into the temperate zone yields ambiguous results suggesting that hominids were not successful hunters even as late at 200,000 years ago!

Scavenging or Hunting in Early Hominids: Theoretical Framework and Tests [PDF]
Pat Shipman
American anthropologist, 1986

Evidence from Bed I, Olduvai, supports the hypothesis that scavenging, not hunting, was the major meat-procurement strategy of hominids between 2 and 1.7 million years ago.

Hunting for evidence of Plio-Pleistocen Hominin Scavengers [PDF]
R. Lee Lyman
American Anthropologist, 1987

I do not argue that Shipman’s conclusion that Olduvai hominids were scavengers is wrong. I believe, however, that her conclusion cannot be substantiated with the butchery data she presents.

Carcass consumption sequences and the archaeological distinction of scavenging and hunting [Abstract]
Robert J. Blumenshine
Journal of human evolution, 1986

A preliminary application of the consumption sequence model to the Klasies River Mouth fauna indicates that medium-sized (size 3) and large (size 4) bovids at Klasies were scavenged primarily. Smaller (size 1 and 2) bovids show a distinct pattern, one more consistent with hunting. These results are similar to Binford’s (1984), but for reasons that are argued to have a firmer empirical basis.

Human ancestors : changing views of their behavior [Introduction] [PDF]
Lewis R. Binford
Journal of anthropological archeology, 1985

Man the Scavenger [PDF]
Kathleen D. Gordon
Anthro notes (National museum of natural history newsletter for teachers), 1984

Gordon 1985 Man the scavenger

Man the scavenger; hominids of 2 million years ago ate meat: but were they hunters or scavengers? [Extrait]
Roger Lewin
Science, 1984

Bones : ancient men and modern myths [Recension fr]
Lewis R. Binford
Academic press, 1981

Recherche fondamentale

A taphonomic analysis of PTK (Bed I, Olduvai Gorge) and its bearing on the interpretation of the dietary and eco-spatial behaviors of early humans
Organista et al.
Quaternary Science Reviews, 2023

In essence, hominins were repeatedly transporting fleshed animal resources into the site, and all taphonomic evidence indicates that these were acquired through primary access […] The predominance of juvenile individuals that preserve a high frequency of cut marks, similar to primary access models (Domínguez-Rodrigo, 1997a), is suggestive of hunting and not of scavenging, since carnivores rapidly destroy small carcasses leaving no remains available for secondary consumers […] A similar age pattern has been documented at Kanjera South, Kenya (2.0 Ma) where 50% of the sample belongs to juvenile carcasses, which were also interpreted as having been acquired through hunting […] As in Kanjera (Parkinson et al., 2022), a substantial amount of cut marks not only occur on meat/bearing long bones (namely, upper and intermediate elements), but are also located on hot zones where carcasses are usually devoid of scraps if accessed after felids.

A case of hominin scavenging 1.84 million years ago from Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania) [PDF]
Dominguez-Rodrigo et al.
Annals of the New-York Academy of Sciences, 2022

Uncontroversial evidence of meat eating goes back to 2.6 million years ago; however, little is known about the frequency and timing with which early hominins acquired animal resources. Here, we show that the combination of hunting and scavenging documented in some modern human foragers may have a long evolutionary trajectory. Using a new set of artificial intelligence methods for objective identification, we present direct evidence of an episode of hominins scavenging from large felids—probably lions—discovered at Olduvai Gorge. […] Hominins probably accessed the carcass when bulk flesh still existed on the radius. This lends support to a confrontational scavenging episode, or to the less common possi-bility of access to a partially fleshed carcass already abandoned by felids. […] Had hominins repeatedly obtained carcasses from felid kills, one would expect an abundance of direct evidence of traces of felids and hominins (like those presented here) on the same bones from archaeofaunas unearthed at early Pleistocene sites. The dearth of this type of direct evidence can only indicate that such an opportunistic behavior was probably marginal or infrequent enough to be archaeologically hard to detect. […] In sum, the virtual lack of evidence supporting felid–hominin interaction at Olduvai’s anthro-pogenic sites indicates that hominins might have been enjoying predominantly primary access to carcasses in combination with secondary access when possible. This is not only what is documented among modern Hadza, but also what characterizes behaviors of some top predators, like lions, which may scavenge up to 16–25% of what they eat, substantially more than what is documented at the anthropogenic BedI sites.

New site at Olduvai Gorge (AGS, Bed I, 1.84 Mya) widens the range of locations where hominins engaged in butchery [PDF]
Stancampiano et al.
Nature scientific reports, 2022

As hominins at AGS performed similar butchering activities as at other Bed I sites, our results suggest they did not need the shelter of trees and thus occupied a competitive position within the predatory guild.

Comment dire sans le dire que l’on soutient la thèse de l’hominisation par la chasse (pas kleptoparasites = chasseurs ; impacted the evolution of human anatomy and socio-ecology = impactent l’hominisation).

Early Pleistocene faunivorous hominins were not kleptoparasitic, and this impacted the evolution of human anatomy and socio-ecology [Texte]
Dominguez-Rodrigo et al.
Nature scientific reports, 2021

we analyze cut mark anatomical distribution patterns in the anthropogenic site of FLK Zinj and in two of the most recently discovered and best preserved early Pleistocene anthropogenic sites in Africa: DS and PTK, (Bed I, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania) (Fig. 1), dated to 1.84 Ma […]
The results of the present study show that by the early Pleistocene, hominins were already inserted in the carnivore guild. Their regular access to fleshed carcasses invalidates hypotheses positing the kleptoparasitic role of these ancestors. Like any other predator, hominins would have exploited available opportunities of carcasses found at other carnivore kills51; however, we argue that such strategies constituted a minor element in their carcass-acquisition behaviors.

Une intense compétition entre hominines et prédateurs aurait commencé très tôt dans l’histoire de l’évolution humaine, au point d’accélérer la disparition de bon nombre d’espèces de prédateurs. Une nette accélération se serait produite vers 2 millions d’années, convergeant avec l’ensemble des autres indices pour définir cette période comme le début d’une consommation régulière et significative de produits provenant de grands animaux :

Brain expansion in early hominins predicts carnivores extinctions in East Africa [PDF]
Faurby et al.
Ecology letters, 2020

Our results suggest that substantial anthropogenic influence on biodiversity started millions of years earlier than currently assumed.

Faurby 2020 visuel extinction rates

Mammal butchery by Homo erectus at the Lower Pleistocene acheulean site of Juma’s korongo 2 (JK2), bed III, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania
Yravedra et al.
Quaternary Science Reviews, 2020

Butchery activities have been documented throughout Bed II, including the exploitation of megafauna in a larger number of sites. Among these, Hippopotamus, giraffe, sivatherium and large bovids have been documented to be consumed by hominins in, BK, TK, FLK-West and SHK between 1.3 and 1.7 Ma. Similar evidence has also been found in sites from Koobi Fora (Kenya), Peninj (Tanzania) and Ain Hanech (Marroco). Contrary to sites of lower Pleistocene earlier than 1.3 Ma, human butchery practices later than this are scarce during the transition between the Lower and Middle Pleistocene. This is due to a lack of sites with lithic tools associated with faunal remains during this period in Eastern Africa. The Acheulean site of Juma’s Korongo 2 (JK2) of the Olduvai Gorge Bed III is one of the few known sites with faunal remains associated with stone tools in East Africa. Under this premise, the present study therefore revisits the taphonomy of JK2, confirming that hominins had primary access to carcasses in this site, followed by carnivores.

Origins of the human predatory pattern: The transition to large-animal exploitation by early hominins [PDF]
Thompson et al.
Current anthropology, 2019

We argue that concepts of meat-eating and tool use are too loosely defined: outside-bone nutrients (e.g., meat) and inside-bone nutrients (e.g., marrow and brains) have different macronutrient characteristics (protein vs. fat), mechanical requirements for access (cutting vs. percussion), search, handling and competitive costs, encounter rates, and net returns. Thus, they would have demanded distinct technological and behavioral solutions. We propose that the regular exploitation of large-animal resources—the “human predatory pattern”—began with an emphasis on percussion-based scavenging of inside-bone nutrients, independent of the emergence of flaked stone tool use. This leads to a series of empirical test implications that differ from previous “meat-eating” origins scenarios.

Revisiting the hunting-versus-scavenging debate at FLK Zinl: A GIS spatial analysis of bone surface modifications produced by hominids and carnivores in the FLK 22 assemblage, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania [Abstract] [PDF]
Jennifer A. Parkinson
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 2018

This analysis suggests hominins had early access to fleshed carcasses at FLK Zinj, particularly of smaller prey, which they may have acquired through hunting. Damage patterns on larger carcasses are more difficult to interpret, but are consistent with early access through hunting or aggressive scavenging. A reanalysis of carnivore tooth mark frequencies on the FLK Zinj bovid fauna also supports an early access scenario.

The carnivorous feeding behavior of early Homo at HWK EE, Bed II, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania
Pante et al.,
Journal of Human Evolution, 2018

The Olduvai Geochronology and Archaeology Project (OGAP) has recovered a large and well-preserved fossil assemblage from the HWK EE site, which was deposited just prior to the first appearance of Acheulean technology at Olduvai Gorge and likely represents one of the last H. habilis sites at Olduvai.
[…] A strong carnivore signal suggests hominins scavenged much of their animal foods during the two main stratigraphic intervals.
[…] Despite the apparent lack of consensus concerning the mode of carcass acquisition regularly practiced by H. habilis, researchers are largely in agreement that flesh and marrow were important resources to the species.
[…] Contrary to those of H. habilis, studies of assemblages associated with Homo erectus all suggest that the species regularly obtained early access to carcasses, possibly through hunting
[…] The HWK EE hominins appear to have obtained earlier access to high-ranking carcass parts, such as axial elements and the flesh and marrow rich femur, than their FLK Zinjanthropus counterparts. Whether this was made possible through occasional hunting or a more aggressive form of scavenging (see O’Connell et al., 2002) cannot be ascertained from the available evidence.

The social organization of Homo ergaster : Inferences from anti-predator responses in extant primates [Abstract]
Erik P. Willems, Carel P. van Schaik
Journal of human evolution, 2017

we analyze reports on primate counter-attacks against known predators and  find these are indeed disproportionately frequent in terrestrial taxa living in open habitats, sometimes even involving the use of tentative weapons. If we subsequently only examine the taxa that are particularly adept at this (chimpanzees and baboons), we find an effect of habitat type on group size : groups on the savanna are larger than those in the forest. We thus infer that H. ergaster lived in very large groups with many males that jointly defended the group against carnivorans, and argue that these counter-attacks will readily have turned into confrontational scavenging and cooperative hunting, allowing Homo to move into the niche of social carnivore.

Use and abuse of cut mark analyses: The Rorschach effect
Dominguez-Rodrigo et al.
Journal of Archaeological Science, 2017

A total of 30 cut marks were independently analyzed by 11 researchers.
Analysts had to score 14 variables on this cut masrk set.
Divergences in the perception of each of the 14 variables are significant.
The study of bone surface modifications remains a highly subjective method.

The meat of the matter: an evolutionary perspective on human carnivory
Dominguez-Rodrigo & Pickering
Azania, 2017

we use archaeological data to trace the inferred polarity of hominin carcass foraging and meat-eating from their first archaeological indications ∼2.6 million years ago (Mya). A review of the early Pleistocene African record demonstrates that taphonomic evidence of a hominin predatory/meat-eating behavioral module clarifies ∼2.0 Mya, a critical time period characterised by traces of advanced carcass foraging, which, in turn, suggest that an earlier phase(s) of vertebrate capture by hominins was/were simpler. In rounding out this meta-analytical consideration of hominin carnivory, we draw on comparative primatology, ecology and archaeology in order to build a holistic model of this fundamental behavioural adaptation.

Revalidation of bone surface modification models for inferring fossil
hominin and carnivore feeding interactions
Pante et al.
Quaternary International, 2015

n Pante et al. (2012), we improved the statistical models for inferring hominin and carnivore feeding
behavior from fossil bone assemblages and presented a refined interpretation of the FLK 22 Zinjanthropus
level faunal assemblage. Domínguez-Rodrigo et al. (2014) have recently questioned our method and
interpretation. Here we argue their critique is unfounded, and that our revised feeding trace models and
interpretations of the FLK 22 assemblage remain vali

Turtles and Tortoises of the World During the Rise and Global Spread of Humanity: First Checklist and Review of Extinct Pleistocene and Holocene Chelonians [PDF]
Rhodin & al., 2015

Studies by Auffenberg (1981), based on archaeological excavations by the Leakeys, demonstrated that the Early Pleistocene Australopithecus, and other early hominins, Homo habilis and probably H. erectus, gathered large numbers of chelonians.

A taste of an elephant: The probable role of elephant meat in Paleolithic diet preferences [Abstract][PDF]
Reshef & Barkai
Quaternary International, 2015

We suggest that early hominins might have had taste preferences and that elephant meat played a significant role in their diet, when available. Furthermore, the archaeological evidence coupled with ethnographic observations and the study of frozen mammoths suggest that juvenile elephants were specifically a delicacy and were hunted intentionally since their specific meat and fat composition seems to have had a better taste and a better nutritional value.

Prey mortality profiles indicate that Early Pleistocene Homo at Olduvai
was an ambush predator [PDF]
Bunn & Gurtov
Quaternary international, 2014

The prime-dominated profile at FLK Zinj is significantly different from profiles formed by the three scavenging methods, which likely indicates hunting by Early Pleistocene Homo.

On meat eating and human evolution: a taphonomic analysis of BK4b (Upper Bed II, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania), and its bearing on hominin megafaunal consumption [PDF]
Dominguez-Rodrigo et al.
Quaternary international, 2014

This evidence supports that meat consumption was tightly linked to the physiology that shaped the evolution of our genus.
[…]In fact, the amount of meat that hominins
exploited at BK level 4b surpasses the evidence documented from other early Pleistocene sites, including the more ancient FLK Zinj site (Domínguez-Rodrigo et al., 2010b). This raises the important issue of the role that meat played in the adaptations and ecology of early Pleistocene humans.

Excavations at Schöningen and paradigm shifts in human evolution [Texte]
Conard et al.
Journal of Human Evolution, 2015

An analysis of the finds from Schöningen and their contexts shows that the inhabitants of the site were skilled hunters at the top of the food chain and exhibited a high level of planning depth. These hominins had command of effective means of communication about the here and now, and the past and the future, that allowed them to repeatedly execute well-coordinated and successful group activities that likely culminated in a division of labor and social and economic patterns radically different from those of all non-human primates.

Validation of bone surface modification models for inferring fossil hominin and carnivore feeding interactions, with reapplication to FLK 22, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania [PDF]
Pante et al.
Journal of human evolution, 2012

Together, the bone surface modification data indicate that
hominins typically gained secondary access to partially defleshed carnivore kills, but they also allow for the possibility of some carcasses being processed only by carnivores and only by hominins.

Unraveling hominin behavior at another anthropogenic site from Olduvai Gorge (Tanzania): new archaeological and taphonomic research at BK, Upper Bed II [PDF]
Journal of human evolution, 2009.

Highly cut-marked long limb shafts, especially those of upper limb bones, suggest that hominins at BK were actively engaged in acquiring small and middle-sized animals using strategies other than passive scavenging. The exploitation of large-sized game (Pelorovis) by Lower Pleistocene hominins, as suggested by previous researchers, is supported by the present study.

Cooperative hunting and meat sharing 400–200 kya at Qesem Cave, Israel [Texte et PDF]
Stiner et al.
PNAS, 2009

The 400- to 200,000-year-old fallow deer assemblages from this cave provide early examples of prime-age-focused ungulate hunting, a human predator–prey relationship that has persisted into recent times. The meat diet at Qesem centered on large game and was supplemented with tortoises. These hominins hunted cooperatively, and consumption of the highest quality parts of large prey was delayed until the food could be moved to the cave and processed with the aid of blade cutting tools and fire. Delayed consumption of high-quality body parts implies that the meat was shared with other members of the group.

Five more arguments to invalidate the passive scavenging
version of the carnivore-hominid-carnivore model: a
reply to Blumenschine et al. (2007a) [PDF]
Dominguez-Rodrigo & Barba
Journal of Human Evolution, 2007

New data from Ambrona: closing the hunting versus scavenging debate [Abstract]
Villa et al.
Quaternary international, 2005

They document butchery of various animals, including elephants. We cannot prove hunting but we can definitely reject Binford’s idea of marginal scavenging of medium-size ungulates from carnivore kills.

Adults only. Reindeer hunting at the Middle Palaeolithic site Salzgitter Lebenstedt, Northern Germany [Abstract]
Gaudzinski & Roebroeks
Journal of Human Evolution, 2000

The subsequent review of the evidence on subsistence strategies from earlier periods of the European Palaeolithic shows that hunting of large mammals may have been a part of the behavioural repertoire of the Middle Pleistocene occupants of Europe from the earliest occupation onwards. At the same time, it is suggested that these early hunting strategies were incorporated in ways of moving through landscapes (“settlement systems”) which were different from what we know from the middle parts of the Upper Palaeolithic onwards.

Hominid–Carnivore Coevolution and Invasion of the Predatory Guild [PDF]
Journal of anthropological archaeology, 1998

Plio-Pleistocene hominids practiced food transport strategies intermediate between those of top predators such as wolves and those of confrontational scavengers such as spotted hyaenas. Plio-Pleistocene hominid food transport strategies do not resemble those of nonconfrontational scavengers such as brown and striped hyenas.

A critique of the evidence for scavenging by Neanderthals and early modern humans: new data from Kobeh Cave (Zagros Mountains, Iran) and Die Kelders Cave 1 layer 10 (South Africa) [Abstract]
Curtiss W. Marean
Journal of Human Evolution, 1998

The conclusion is that there is no reliable evidence for scavenging by Neandertals or early modern humans.

Distinguishing Hyena from Hominid Bone Accumulations [Abstract]
Kathryn Cruz-Uribe
Journal of field archeology, 1991

The criteria are as follows: 1) the tendency for carnivore remains to be relatively common in carnivore accumulations, 2) the presence of distinctive hyena damage on bone surfaces (depending on bone surface preservation, such damage may not always be common in hyena assemblages); 3) the tendency for bones from hyena accumulations to have relatively complete shafts but lack epiphyses (i.e., being bone “cylinders” while those from hominid accumulations have broken shafts and intact epiphyses; 4) the tendency for the cranial-postcranial ratio to decrease with ungulate size in hyena accumulations; 5) the tendency for small, hard, bones to be uncommon in hyena accumulations, regardless of state of preservation; and 6) the tendency for age profiles to be attritional in hyena accumulations.

Systematic Butchery by Plio/Pleistocene Hominids at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania [PDF]
Bunn & Kroll
Current anthropology, 1986

In contrast to other recently published assessments of the FLK Zinjanthropus data, we conclude that (1) ancient hominids had full access to meaty carcasses of many small and large animals prior to any substantial loss of meat or marrow bones through other predator or scavenger feeding; (2) ancient hominids were butchering animal carcasses by an efficient and systematic technique that involved skinning, disarticulation, and defleshing; and (3) the FLK Zinjanthropus site represents a place where the secondary butchering of selected carcass portions and the consumption of substantial quantities of meat and marrow occurred.

Age (mortality) profiles as a means of distinguishing hunted species from scavenged ones in Stone Age archeologicalsites [PDF]
Richard G. Klein
Paleobiology, 1982

At the majority of known sites, active hunting is suggested. In the case of a species characterized by an attritional profile in an archeological site, the proportion of very young individuals in the sample probably provides the best criterion for distinguishing hunting from scavenging. A relatively high proportion of very young
individuals suggests active hunting.

Articles de vulgarisation

Early Humans May Have Scavenged More than They Hunted [Article]
Becky Little
History, 9 janvier 2020

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