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    Identification of fossilized eggshells from the Taung hominin locality, Taung, Northwest Province, South Africa

    Kuhn, B.F. and Carlson, K.J. and Hopley, Philip J. and Zipfel, B. and Berger, L.R. (2015) Identification of fossilized eggshells from the Taung hominin locality, Taung, Northwest Province, South Africa. Palaeontologia Electronica 18 (1), pp. 1-16. ISSN 1094-8074.

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    Abstract

    While an avian component within faunal remains from the Dart Deposits, Taung, South Africa, has been discussed for nearly a century, the taxa present have not been identified to species. Here we conduct a systematic analysis of fossilized eggshell fragments in order to document the presence of specific avian taxa at Taung during the Plio-Pleistocene. A comparative analysis of surface morphology and surface curvatures of fragmentary eggshells eliminated all but three extant avian taxa as potential sources for the fossilized fragments: a large eagle, an eagle owl (Bubo sp.) or a guinea fowl (subfamily Numidinae). The likelihood for each of these three taxa as a source is discussed by evaluating surface curvature matches between the fossilized fragments and extant eggshells. The two most complete fossil eggshells recovered from Taung have distinct carbon isotope signatures indicating that they belong to two different, granivorous and carnivorous, guilds. While these identifications contribute to the debate over whether or not there was an avian agent of collection for the Taung fossils, including perhaps the Taung Child, by establishing direct evidence for a raptor component in the Taung faunal assemblage, they cannot address specific predator-prey behaviour.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Science > Earth and Planetary Sciences
    Depositing User: Philip Hopley
    Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2015 11:59
    Last Modified: 11 Oct 2016 12:01
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/13140

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