Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (03): 523-534.doi: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2021.0020

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A brief discussion on the approaches of taphonomic study of archaeofaunas from paleoanthropological sites

DU Yuwei1,2,3(), DING Xin4, PEI Shuwen1,2()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044
    2. CAS Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Beijing 100044
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
    4. Institute of Archaeology, University College London, WC1H 0PY London, United Kingdom
  • Received:2021-01-19 Revised:2021-02-18 Online:2022-06-15 Published:2022-06-16
  • Contact: PEI Shuwen;


With the development of the research discipline, diversified research approaches to early human occupation reveal different occupation strategies adopted by early humans from the use of paleoanthropological sites. In recent years, as an important branch of exploring ancient human behavior, animal taphonomy plays an important role in explaining the formation processes of sites and even the influencing factors behind the site formation. This paper reviews the main approaches to taphonomic investigation of animal assemblages from paleoanthropological sites. In addition, this paper also introduces some typical models and classic research cases in order to analyze the defects and possible solutions in studying animal bone formation processes from sites. Furthermore, fundamental research methods of animal taphonomy, which are systematically reviewed by the authors, provide feasible research scopes of the taphonomic results from multiple phenomena obtained from archaeological site formation. Finally, combined with the related studies of some paleoanthropological sites in China, a discussion on the potential reference for research methods and approaches in Chinese animal taphonomy studies is also presented in the current paper.

Key words: Early human occupation, Vertebrate taphonomy, Bone surface modifications, Bone break patterns, Actualistic studies

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