Bone marrow storage and delayed consumption at Middle Pleistocene Qesem Cave, Israel (420 to 200 ka)

Blasco, R; Rosell, J; Arilla, M; Margalida, A.; Villalba, D; Gopher, A; Barkai, R (2019). Bone marrow storage and delayed consumption at Middle Pleistocene Qesem Cave, Israel (420 to 200 ka). Science Advances, 5(10), eaav9822. American Association for the Advancement of Science 10.1126/sciadv.aav9822

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Bone marrow and grease constitute an important source of nutrition and have attracted the attention of human groups since prehistoric times. Marrow consumption has been linked to immediate consumption following the procurement and removal of soft tissues. Here, we present the earliest evidence for storage and delayed consumption of bone marrow at Qesem Cave, Israel (~420 to 200 ka). By using experimental series controlling exposure time and environmental parameters, combined with chemical analyses, we evaluated bone marrow preservation. The combination of archaeological and experimental results allowed us to isolate specific marks linked to dry skin removal and determine a low rate of marrow fat degradation of up to 9 weeks of exposure. This is the earliest evidence of such previously unidentified behavior, and it offers insights into the socio-economy of the human groups who lived at Qesem and may mark a threshold to new modes of Palaeolithic human adaptation.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Conservation Biology

UniBE Contributor:

Margalida, Antoni

Subjects:

500 Science > 560 Fossils & prehistoric life
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology

ISSN:

2375-2548

Publisher:

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Language:

English

Submitter:

Olivier Roth

Date Deposited:

31 Mar 2020 15:17

Last Modified:

05 Apr 2020 02:49

Publisher DOI:

10.1126/sciadv.aav9822

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.141383

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/141383

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