American Journal of Zoological Research

ISSN (Print): 2373-678X

ISSN (Online): 2373-6771


Current Issue» Volume 2, Number 4 (2014)


Cave Usage by Multiple Taphonomic Agents: Issues towards Interpreting the Fossil Bearing Cave Deposits in South Africa

1School of Geosciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, WITS, South Africa

2Evolutionary Studies Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, WITS, South Africa

American Journal of Zoological Research. 2014, 2(4), 55-61
DOI: 10.12691/ajzr-2-4-1
Copyright © 2014 Science and Education Publishing

Cite this paper:
Alexandra C. Bountalis, Brian F Kuhn. Cave Usage by Multiple Taphonomic Agents: Issues towards Interpreting the Fossil Bearing Cave Deposits in South Africa. American Journal of Zoological Research. 2014; 2(4):55-61. doi: 10.12691/ajzr-2-4-1.

Correspondence to: Brian  F Kuhn, Evolutionary Studies Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, WITS, South Africa. Email:


The current use of caves in South Africa by three distinct collectors of faunal remains, leopard (Pantherapardus), brown hyaena (Parahyaena brunnea) and porcupine (Hystrixafricaeaustralis) as well as other species of taphonomic significance raises serious questions with regard to the interpretation of the hominin bearing caves. As part of study using multiple camera traps to monitor a number of caves in the Cradle of Humankind over a period of at least 20 months, we found that an individual cave may be used by no less than seven species. The results indicate that identifying a single collector or modifier from a fossil assemblage which may span thousands of years is not as straightforward as previously hypothesized.



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