Abstract

Taphonomic analyses have been conducted on the macromammal remains found in Sedimentary Unit 7 of the lower Pleistocene Pirro 10 site of the Pirro Nord locality in Italy. Recent field research has concentrated on investigating the fossil content of this site and the genesis of the karst network and its related deposits. In the present study, we distinguish between preburial and synsedimentary (during burial) processes in order to group the vertebrate remains into different taphonomic categories according to their various states of preservation, thus introducing the concept of taphorecord—borrowed from invertebrate taphonomy—into macrovertebrate taphonomy for the first time. Element quantification, evaluation of transport effects, and state of preservation of the skeletal elements were studied and all elements separated into four taphorecords according to their relative chronology. The use of taphorecords also improves the accuracy of the data obtained from the various methods of element quantification. The analysis of bone sorting and orientation indicates that the fossiliferous deposits originated by water flows carrying both fossils and sediments, alternating with phases of carcass accumulation and reelaboration of bones from previously deposited layers. The study presented here serves as a proof of concept for the use of taphorecords in analyses of fossiliferous deposits in caves.

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