Publications by authors named "Jean Philip Brugal"

7 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Morphological characteristics of preparator air-scribe marks: Implications for taphonomic research.

PLoS One 2018 20;13(12):e0209330. Epub 2018 Dec 20.

Center for Microscopy and Imaging, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, United States of America.

Taphonomic analyses of bone-surface modifications can provide key insights into past biotic involvement with animal remains, as well as elucidate the context(s) of other biostratinomic (pre-burial) processes, diagenesis, excavation, preparation and storage. Such analyses, however, first require researchers to rigorously disambiguate between continuums of damage morphologies prior to attributing individual marks to specific actors and effectors (e.g., carnivore tooth, stone tool cutting edge, etc.). To date, a number of bone-modifying agents have been identified, and criteria for identifying their traces have been published. Relatively little research, however, has focused on bone-surface modifications imparted during specimen preparation. Herein we report that air scribes, small pneumatic tools commonly used for preparation in museum contexts, can generate unintentional marks that may mimic surficial modification caused by carnivores. To aid investigators in assessing the hypothesis that a mark in question is derived from air-scribe preparation activities, we provide high-resolution, detailed morphological information imaged with scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The main diagnostic characteristic of air-scribe damage is the occurrence of sequential, variously spaced, sub-millimeter scallop-like stepped bone removals. This morphology can resemble damage imparted by carnivore teeth. In contrast to marks produced by trampling, stone tools and carnivores, however, no continuous internal features, such as linear microstriations, were observed within grooves produced by the air scribe. Thus, the presence of such features can be used to disprove an air-scribe origin. A culmination of the morphological criteria presented herein, cross-cutting relationships with other surficial features (e.g., diagenetic discoloration, weathering textures), the position of occurrence, and an overall contextual framework for the assemblage is suggested for accurate identification of such traces. The ability to recognize or disprove air-scribe damage will allow researchers to confidently proceed with interpreting past biological and sedimentological interactions with animal remains.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0209330PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6301663PMC
May 2019

Aridity and hominin environments.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2017 07 26;114(28):7331-7336. Epub 2017 Jun 26.

Department of Geology & Geophysics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112.

Aridification is often considered a major driver of long-term ecological change and hominin evolution in eastern Africa during the Plio-Pleistocene; however, this hypothesis remains inadequately tested owing to difficulties in reconstructing terrestrial paleoclimate. We present a revised aridity index for quantifying water deficit (WD) in terrestrial environments using tooth enamel δO values, and use this approach to address paleoaridity over the past 4.4 million years in eastern Africa. We find no long-term trend in WD, consistent with other terrestrial climate indicators in the Omo-Turkana Basin, and no relationship between paleoaridity and herbivore paleodiet structure among fossil collections meeting the criteria for WD estimation. Thus, we suggest that changes in the abundance of C grass and grazing herbivores in eastern Africa during the Pliocene and Pleistocene may have been decoupled from aridity. As in modern African ecosystems, other factors, such as rainfall seasonality or ecological interactions among plants and mammals, may be important for understanding the evolution of C grass- and grazer-dominated biomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1700597114DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5514716PMC
July 2017

Past climate changes, population dynamics and the origin of Bison in Europe.

BMC Biol 2016 10 21;14(1):93. Epub 2016 Oct 21.

Institut Jacques Monod, UMR7592, CNRS, University Paris Diderot, Epigenome and Paleogenome group, 15 rue Hélène Brion, 75013, Paris, France.

Background: Climatic and environmental fluctuations as well as anthropogenic pressure have led to the extinction of much of Europe's megafauna. The European bison or wisent (Bison bonasus), one of the last wild European large mammals, narrowly escaped extinction at the onset of the 20th century owing to hunting and habitat fragmentation. Little is known, however, about its origin, evolutionary history and population dynamics during the Pleistocene.

Results: Through ancient DNA analysis we show that the emblematic European bison has experienced several waves of population expansion, contraction, and extinction during the last 50,000 years in Europe, culminating in a major reduction of genetic diversity during the Holocene. Fifty-seven complete and partial ancient mitogenomes from throughout Europe, the Caucasus, and Siberia reveal that three populations of wisent (Bison bonasus) and steppe bison (B. priscus) alternately occupied Western Europe, correlating with climate-induced environmental changes. The Late Pleistocene European steppe bison originated from northern Eurasia, whereas the modern wisent population emerged from a refuge in the southern Caucasus after the last glacial maximum. A population overlap during a transition period is reflected in ca. 36,000-year-old paintings in the French Chauvet cave. Bayesian analyses of these complete ancient mitogenomes yielded new dates of the various branching events during the evolution of Bison and its radiation with Bos, which lead us to propose that the genetic affiliation between the wisent and cattle mitogenomes result from incomplete lineage sorting rather than post-speciation gene flow.

Conclusion: The paleogenetic analysis of bison remains from the last 50,000 years reveals the influence of climate changes on the dynamics of the various bison populations in Europe, only one of which survived into the Holocene, where it experienced severe reductions in its genetic diversity. The time depth and geographical scope of this study enables us to propose temperate Western Europe as a suitable biotope for the wisent compatible with its reintroduction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12915-016-0317-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5075162PMC
October 2016

3.3-million-year-old stone tools from Lomekwi 3, West Turkana, Kenya.

Nature 2015 May;521(7552):310-5

1] CNRS, UMR 7055, Préhistoire et Technologie, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, 21 allée de l'Université, 92023 Nanterre Cedex, France [2] West Turkana Archaeological Project, P.O. Box 40658-00100, Ngara Rd, Nairobi, Kenya.

Human evolutionary scholars have long supposed that the earliest stone tools were made by the genus Homo and that this technological development was directly linked to climate change and the spread of savannah grasslands. New fieldwork in West Turkana, Kenya, has identified evidence of much earlier hominin technological behaviour. We report the discovery of Lomekwi 3, a 3.3-million-year-old archaeological site where in situ stone artefacts occur in spatiotemporal association with Pliocene hominin fossils in a wooded palaeoenvironment. The Lomekwi 3 knappers, with a developing understanding of stone's fracture properties, combined core reduction with battering activities. Given the implications of the Lomekwi 3 assemblage for models aiming to converge environmental change, hominin evolution and technological origins, we propose for it the name 'Lomekwian', which predates the Oldowan by 700,000 years and marks a new beginning to the known archaeological record.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature14464DOI Listing
May 2015

Pedogenic carbonate stable isotopic evidence for wooded habitat preference of early Pleistocene tool makers in the Turkana Basin.

J Hum Evol 2013 Jul 31;65(1):65-78. Epub 2013 May 31.

Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work, Seton Hall University, 400 South Orange Avenue, South Orange, NJ 07079, USA.

The origin and evolution of early Pleistocene hominin lithic technologies in Africa occurred within the context of savanna grassland ecosystems. The Nachukui Formation of the Turkana Basin in northern Kenya, containing Oldowan and Acheulean tool assemblages and fossil evidence for early members of Homo and Paranthropus, provides an extensive spatial and temporal paleosol record of early Pleistocene savanna flora. Here we present new carbon isotopic (δ(13)CVPDB) values of pedogenic carbonates (68 nodules, 193 analyses) from the Nachukui Formation in order to characterize past vegetation structure and change through time. We compared three members (Kalochoro, Kaitio, and Natoo) at five locations spanning 2.4-1.4Ma and sampled in proximity to hominin archaeological and paleontological sites. Our results indicate diverse habitats showing a mosaic pattern of vegetation cover at each location yet demonstrate grassland expansion through time influenced by paleogeography. Kalochoro floodplains occurred adjacent to large river systems, and paleosols show evidence of C3 woodlands averaging 46-50% woody cover. Kaitio habitats were located along smaller rivers and lake margins. Paleosols yielded evidence for reduced portions of woody vegetation averaging 34-37% woody cover. Natoo environments had the highest percentage of grasslands averaging 21% woody cover near a diminishing Lake Turkana precursor. We also compared paleosol δ(13)CVPDB values of lithic archaeological sites with paleosol δ(13)CVPDB values of all environments available to hominins at 2.4-1.4Ma in the Nachukui and Koobi Fora Formations. Grassy environments became more widespread during this interval; woody canopy cover mean percentages steadily decreased by 12%. However, significantly more wooded savanna habitats were present in the vicinity of lithic archaeological sites and did not mirror the basin-wide trend of grassland spread. Hominin lithic archaeological sites consistently demonstrated woody cover circa 40% throughout our study interval and were 4-12% more woody than coeval basin environs. We propose that Turkana Basin early tool makers may have preferred a more wooded portion of the savanna ecosystem to reduce heat stress and to gain differential access to potable water, raw materials, animal carcasses, and edible plants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2013.04.002DOI Listing
July 2013

First occurrence of early Homo in the Nachukui Formation (West Turkana, Kenya) at 2.3-2.4 Myr.

J Hum Evol 2005 Aug;49(2):230-40

CNRS, UPR 2147, 44 rue de l'Amiral Mouchez, 75014 Paris, France.

Cognitive abilities and techno-economic behaviours of hominids in the time period between 2.6-2.3 Myr have become increasingly well-documented. This time period corresponds to the oldest evidence for stone tools at Gona (Kada Gona, West Gona, EG 10-12, OGS 6-7), Hadar (AL 666), lower Omo valley (Ftji1, 2 & 5, Omo 57, Omo 123) in Ethiopia, and West Turkana (Lokalalei sites -LA1 & LA2C-) in Kenya. In 2002 a new palaeoanthropological site (LA1alpha), 100 meters south of the LA1 archaeological site, produced a first right lower molar of a juvenile hominid (KNM-WT 42718). The relative small size of the crown, its marked MD elongation and BL reduction, the relative position of the cusps, the lack of a C6 and the mild expression of a protostylid, reinforced by metrical analyses, demonstrate the distinctiveness of this tooth compared with Australopithecus afarensis, A. anamensis, A. africanus and Paranthropus boisei, and its similarity to early Homo. The LA1alpha site lies 2.2 m above the Ekalalei Tuff which is slightly younger than Tuff F dated to 2.34+/-0.04 Myr. This juvenile specimen represents the oldest occurrence of the genus Homo in West Turkana.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2005.03.009DOI Listing
August 2005

Later Middle Pleistocene human remains from the Almonda Karstic system, Torres Novas, Portugal.

J Hum Evol 2003 Sep;45(3):219-26

Department of Anthropology, Campus Box 1114, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA.

Later Middle Pleistocene archeological deposits of the Galeria Pesada (Gruta da Aroeira), Almonda Karstic System, Torres Novas, Portugal, yielded two archaic human teeth, a mandibular canine and a maxillary third molar. The C(1)presents moderate and asymmetrical shoveling with a stout root. The slightly worn M(3)exhibits at least four cusps with a large hypocone, three roots with large radicular plates, and an absence of taurodontism. They are moderately large for later Middle Pleistocene humans in their buccolingual crown diameters, although the M(3)mesiodistal diameter is modest. The C(1)exhibits labial calculus and multiple linear hypoplastic defects, but the M(3)is lesion free. Both teeth are morphologically similar to those of other Middle Pleistocene European humans and reinforce a pattern of dental hypertrophy among these archaic Homo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2003.07.001DOI Listing
September 2003