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Get Them Young? Age and Sex Inferences on Animal Domestication in Archaeology

Stephen Collier and J. Peter White
American Antiquity
Vol. 41, No. 1 (Jan., 1976), pp. 96-102
DOI: 10.2307/279046
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/279046
Page Count: 7
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Get Them Young? Age and Sex Inferences on Animal Domestication in Archaeology
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Abstract

The assumption that a high proportion of immature herd ungulates in an archaeological site indicates a domestic population implies (a) there is a 'natural' population structure common to all wild herds, and (b) predators will kill a representative sample of this population. We challenge these implications by demonstrating that wide variations occur in the population structures of non-domestic herds, in the vulnerability of age and sex classes to predation, and in the selective hunting of herd animals by predators, including man. We conclude that the initial assumption cannot be sustained.

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