Mastodont Procurement by Paleoindians of the Great Lakes Region: Hunting or Scavenging?

  • Daniel C. Fisher


Investigations of the evolution of human hunting behavior are complex in many respects, but one of the most challenging issues they must address is the distinction between hunting and scavenging. The difficulty of deciding whether instances of carcass utilization represent hunting or scavenging exists in part because the means of carcass procurement frequently leaves no record on preserved materials. Even when it does, such a record may be obscured by, or confused with, the modification sustained during butchery or other postmortem events (papers by Klein and Behrensmeyer, this volume). The context and nature of an assemblage (as in many Great Plains bison kills; Frison 1978; Todd, this volume) or the preservation of structures showing a unique functional association with hunting (Frison, this volume) sometimes make it possible to reject scavenging as an explanation for a given site. However, judged over the whole history of human utilization of animal carcasses, such a clear choice is more the exception than the rule.


Attribute Distribution Reference Class Dynamic Similarity Natural Death Early Hominid 
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© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel C. Fisher
    • 1
  1. 1.Museum of PaleontologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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