Taphonomy

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Fossil forensics to elucidate accumulation modes, biases and the potential of sites for palaeoecological analyses.

While dating and depositional studies provide contextual information for a fossil assemblage, allowing it to be placed in time and related to other records (e.g. palaeoclimate proxies), taphonomic studies at the Naracoorte Caves have provided information on the processes involved in fossil accumulation, bone modification and the biases inherent in the fossil assemblages.

A number of studies have focussed on taphonomic processes specifically, while others have incorporated taphonomic analyses into a broader palaeoecological study.

As new sites are examined, studies of their taphonomic history will be an important to ensure that palaeoenvironmental and palaeoecological inferences are informed by a thorough understanding of the biases inherent within the site’s fossil record.

Further reading

  • Reed, E.H. 2006. In situ taphonomic investigation of Pleistocene large mammal bone deposits from The Ossuaries, Victoria Fossil Cave, South Australia. Helictite 39, 5–15.
  • Reed, E.H. 2008. Pinning down the pitfall: entry points for Pleistocene vertebrate remains and sediments in the Fossil Chamber, Victoria Fossil Cave, Naracoorte, South Australia. Quaternary Australasia 25, 2–8.