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Similarity of Bones and Antlers gnawed by Deer to Human Artefacts


THE anthropologist, when studying excavated bone remains, often finds it difficult to distinguish specimens worked by hominids from those damaged by other processes. Although damage by carnivores and rodents is widely recognised as a potential source of confusion1, the role of herbivores (though well known to cattle and deer herders) is less well documented. In this communication, which originates from a visit to the Hardangervidda Mountains, Norway, in 1971, I describe some bones and antlers gnawed by Norwegian reindeer and Scottish red deer. It is clear that bones and antlers so gnawed can resemble human artefacts and have sometimes been mistaken for them.

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SUTCLIFFE, A. Similarity of Bones and Antlers gnawed by Deer to Human Artefacts. Nature 246, 428–430 (1973).

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