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Title: When wildcats feed on rabbits: an experimental study to understand the taphonomic signature of European wildcats (Felis silvestris silvestris)
Authors: Lloveras, L
Thomas, R
Cosso, A
Pinyol, C
Nadal, J
First Published: 8-Aug-2016
Publisher: Springer
Citation: Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 2018, 10 (2), pp. 449-464
Abstract: Studies of the feeding ecology of the European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris) demonstrate that leporids, mostly European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), dominate their diet in regions where they are present. The remains of wildcats have been found at Pleistocene and Holocene archaeological sites, raising the possibility that they actively accumulated leporid bones in caves and shelters shared with other terrestrial carnivores, raptors and humans. We present the first taphonomic study of rabbit remains consumed by this terrestrial carnivore, with the ultimate aim of understanding their role in bone accumulations at archaeological sites. An experimental study was carried out with a wildcat female, who was fed with nine complete rabbit carcasses. Non-ingested remains and scats were recovered for the analysis of anatomical representation, breakage and bone surface modification. This revealed that non-ingested remains and scats of the European wildcat can be discriminated from most other agents of accumulation. The referential framework provided will permit the discrimination of hominids and wildcats as agents of fossil accumulations of rabbits.
DOI Link: 10.1007/s12520-016-0364-6
eISSN: 1866-9565
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s open access archiving policy. (
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Archaeology and Ancient History

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