Distinguishing species of geoemydid and trionychid turtles from shell fragments: Evidence from the Pleistocene at Niah Caves, Sarawak

P. C.H. Pritchard, R. J. Rabett*, P. J. Piper

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Fragments of chelonian carapace and plastral dermal plates are well-represented from archaeological sites in the world's dry and wet tropics. However, although these bones are easily identified at an element level, few archaeological reports have explored the potential of using features of form and surface sculpturing as a way to refine that identification to genus or species. The ability to achieve such a refinement would benefit environmental and human subsistence strategy models alike. The objective of the current paper was to isolate recurrent and readily visible surface characteristics on the dermal plates from a selection of commonly occurring Southeast Asian hard- and soft-shelled turtles. Using these criteria, analysis is made of the chelonian assemblage from pre- and post-Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) cultural deposits in the West Mouth of Niah Cave.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-550
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Osteoarchaeology
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

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