Research ArticleANTHROPOLOGY

The Châtelperronian Neanderthals of Cova Foradada (Calafell, Spain) used imperial eagle phalanges for symbolic purposes

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Science Advances  01 Nov 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 11, eaax1984
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax1984
  • Fig. 1 Pre-UP symbolic use of raptor talons.

    Geographical range of Neanderthal populations and sites with raptor cut-marked phalanges. The line of white dots roughly marks the probable range of Neanderthals in Eurasia, based on paleogenetic data and fossil remains. The yellow dotted line suggests the common cultural territory for the use of raptor talons before the arrival of the UP. The extended map indicates the location of all MP/CP sites, with raptor phalanges interpreted as symbolic elements, including Cova Foradada. Baume Gigny is included for the sake of clarity.

  • Fig. 2 FO15/IV1/E6/1339 specimen.

    (A) Dorsal, medial, plantar, and lateral views of the phalange (from left to right, respectively). (B) Detail of the cut marks in the dorsal view and dotted-line squares with the area amplified in photos (C) and (D). (E) Detailed photo of all the cut marks after cleaning and restoration. Photo credit: Antonio Rodríguez-Hidalgo, IDEA.

  • Fig. 3 Data supporting species identification.

    (A) PCA analysis of six measurements of the first phalanx of the toe I of different species of large eagles documented in the Iberian Pleistocene fossil record and A. heliaca. (B) Diagram with comparative measurements of the total length (L) and proximal breath (Bp). (C) Current distribution of the three large eagles documented in the Iberian fossil record and European/Middle Eastern localities with the presence of imperial eagles (A. adalberti/heliaca) during the Pleistocene (references and dates of occurrences in the fossil record can be consulted in table S5).

  • Fig. 4 Analysis of cut mark morphology using the HIROX KH-8700 3D digital microscope.

    (A) 2D GPA and mean shape of cut mark cross-section profiles across 30, 50, and 70% of each incision. (B) 3D GPA and mean shape of the entire incision. Photo credit: Antonio Rodríguez-Hidalgo, IDEA.

  • Table 1 Sites and layers with cut-marked raptor phalanges interpreted as symbolic elements associated with Neanderthals or transitional MP/UP populations.

    CP, Châtelperronian; CM, Classic Mousterian; L, Levallois; M, Mousterian; MTA, Mousterian of Acheulean Tradition; N, Neronian; N/A, not applicable/unknown.

    SiteLayerAge (ka)Cultural
    attribution
    Taxa CMCommon
    name
    CM NISPBird NISPRaptor NISPReference
    Baume de
    Gigny*
    XV50MPCygnus
    cygnus
    Whooper
    swan
    1N/AN/A(13, 14)
    Combe Grenal5290MP-CMAquila
    chrysaetos
    Golden eagle171(13)
    FumaneA12MIS3MP-LAquila
    chrysaetos
    Golden eagle1N/A1(15, 16)
    Fumane*A938–42MP-DTetrao tetrixBlack grouse1N/AN/A(17)
    Grotte de
    L’Hyene
    N/AMIS3MPAquila
    chrysaetos
    Golden eagle1N/AN/A(13, 16)
    Grotte du
    Renne
    IX-X44–42CPHaliaetus
    albicilla
    White-tailed
    eagle
    1N/AN/A(18)
    Grotte du
    Renne
    IX-X44–42CPBubo buboEuropean
    eagle-owl
    1N/AN/A(18)
    KrapinaN/A100–130MP-MHaliaetus
    albicilla
    White-tailed
    eagle
    52912(19)
    Les FieuxI/J60–40MP-DMHaliaetus
    albicilla
    White-tailed
    eagle
    1813(13, 20)
    Les FieuxJbase60–40MP-MTAHaliaetus
    albicilla
    White-tailed
    eagle
    1424(13, 20)
    Les FieuxKsMIS3MP-MTAHaliaetus
    albicilla
    White-tailed
    eagle
    2978(13, 20)
    Les FieuxKsMIS3MP-MTAAegypius
    monachus
    Cinereous
    vulture
    1978(13, 20)
    Les FieuxRec. cleanMIS3MP-MTAHaliaetus
    albicilla
    White-tailed
    eagle
    2>22(13, 20)
    MandrinE52–56MP-NAquila
    chrysaetos
    Golden eagle1111(15)
    Pech de l’Azé I444–48MP-MTAAquila
    chrysaetos
    Golden eagle2925(14, 21)
    Pech de l’Azé IV8100MP-MMedium-
    sized raptor
    N/A111(22)
    Rio Secco748–49MP-MAquila
    chrysaetos
    Golden eagle1151(15)
    Cova
    Foradada
    IV1>39CPAquila
    [heliaca]
    adalberti
    (Iberian?)
    Imperial
    eagle
    14112This work,
    (23)

    *The cases of Baume de Gigny and Fumane A9 correspond to other birds than raptors.

    • Table 2 Raptor remains from Unit IV of Cova Foradada.

      ID, unique identification number of each specimen; BSM, bone surface modifications; CM, cut marks; Dg, diagenetic breakage.

      IDLayerElementSideTaxonCommon nameBSM
      FO14/IV/
      F8/2848 + 3453
      IVTarsometatarsusRAquila [heliaca]
      adalberti
      (Iberian?) Imperial
      eagle
      Broken-Dg
      FO15/IV/G8/C1IVPhalange 2 toe IILAquila [heliaca]
      adalberti
      (Iberian?) Imperial
      eagle
      FO14/IV/F9/1971IVTalonAccipitridae sp.
      FO14/IV/
      F6/306 + 307
      IVTibiotarsusRAquila [heliaca]
      adalberti
      (Iberian?) Imperial
      eagle
      Broken-Dg
      FO15/IV/D7/C1IVHumerusLAccipitridae cf.
      Milvus milvus
      cf. Red kiteBroken-Dg
      FO14/IV/D8/1018IVPhalange 2 toe IIIRGyps fulvusGriffon vulture
      FO15/IV/E6/C1IVPhalangeAccipitridae cf.
      Accipiter sp.
      FO14/IV1/F8/2864IV1Phalange 2 toe IIIRAquila [heliaca]
      adalberti
      (Iberian?) Imperial
      eagle
      FO14/IV1/F8/2862IV1Phalange 2 toe IIILAquila [heliaca]
      adalberti
      (Iberian?) Imperial
      eagle
      FO14/IV1/F8/3129IV1Phalange 1 toe IAccipitridae cf.
      Aquila sp.
      Broken-indet.
      FO15/IV1/E6/1339IV1Phalange 1 toe ILAquila [heliaca]
      adalberti
      (Iberian?) Imperial
      eagle
      CM
      FO15/IV2/D7/C1IV2UlnaRAccipitridae cf.
      Milvus milvus
      cf. Red kiteBroken-indet.

    Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary material for this article is available at http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/5/11/eaax1984/DC1

      Supplementary Text

      Fig. S1. Different views of Cova Foradada and CP points.

      Fig. S2. Stratigraphic column.

      Fig. S3. Horizontal and vertical location of the phalange FO15/ IV1/E6/1339.

      Fig. S4. Anthropogenic modifications on leporid bones in Unit IV of Cova Foradada.

      Fig. S5. Anatomical representation of large raptors versus small birds.

      Table S1. NISP, percentage and minimal number of individuals (MNI), and number of specimens for Unit IV and layer IV, IV1, and IV2 faunal assemblage at Cova Foradada.

      Table S2. Average measurements of the opening angle and depth of incision profiles at 30, 50, and 70% of the groove’s total length.

      Table S3. Skeletal representation of small birds from Unit IV of Cova Foradada.

      Table S4. Measurements of the first phalanx of digit I used for comparative purposes and data from the specimen of Cova Foradada.

      Table S5. Pleistocene/Early Holocene fossil remains of A. adalberti and A. heliaca in Europe and Near East.

      Movie S1. Animation of the 3D model of eagle phalanx with cut marks recovered in Cova Foradada.

      STL S1. www.morphosource.org/Detail/MediaDetail/Show/media_id/44124

      STL S2. www.morphosource.org/Detail/MediaDetail/Show/media_id/44124

      References (54111)

    • Supplementary Materials

      The PDF file includes:

      • Supplementary Text
      • Fig. S1. Different views of Cova Foradada and CP points.
      • Fig. S2. Stratigraphic column.
      • Fig. S3. Horizontal and vertical location of the phalange FO15/ IV1/E6/1339.
      • Fig. S4. Anthropogenic modifications on leporid bones in Unit IV of Cova Foradada.
      • Fig. S5. Anatomical representation of large raptors versus small birds.
      • Table S1. NISP, percentage and minimal number of individuals (MNI), and number of specimens for Unit IV and layer IV, IV1, and IV2 faunal assemblage at Cova Foradada.
      • Table S2. Average measurements of the opening angle and depth of incision profiles at 30, 50, and 70% of the groove’s total length.
      • Table S3. Skeletal representation of small birds from Unit IV of Cova Foradada.
      • Table S4. Measurements of the first phalanx of digit I used for comparative purposes and data from the specimen of Cova Foradada.
      • Table S5. Pleistocene/Early Holocene fossil remains of A. adalberti and A. heliaca in Europe and Near East.
      • STL S1. www.morphosource.org/Detail/MediaDetail/Show/media_id/44124
      • STL S2. www.morphosource.org/Detail/MediaDetail/Show/media_id/44124
      • References (54111)

      Download PDF

      Other Supplementary Material for this manuscript includes the following:

      • Movie S1 (.mp4 format). Animation of the 3D model of eagle phalanx with cut marks recovered in Cova Foradada.

      Files in this Data Supplement:

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