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Experiments on wind dispersal of modern rodent bones

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Abstract:

Experiments in a wind tunnel are conducted for the evaluation of the effects of wind on the dispersion of bones of small Cricetidae Sigmodontinae rodents. The experiments consisted of mobilizing different types of bones on two different substrate types at three different wind speeds (2.70, 3.70 and 4.70 m/s). Following the results obtained in these experiments, the different bones were categorized in groups according to their transportability. These groups include elements that were transported faster (vertebrae, skulls and scapulae) and those which were transported more slowly (maxillae, incisors and mandibles). These results were compared with published experimental data of small mammal bones transported by water. These comparisons show that the vertebrae and scapulae are dispersed very quickly while mandibles are the last to be mobilized during both water and wind transport. Long bones and metapodials tend to behave similarly under both types of transport. Other bones show different susceptibility according to the transport agent involved. The analysis of wind action provides additional information that contributes in explaining the presence of some anatomical elements and the deficit of others in archaeological or palaeontological sites generated in open plain continental environments.

Keywords: BONES; DISPERSION; EXPERIMENTAL TAPHONOMY; RODENTS; TAPHONOMIC CLUSTERING; WIND TUNNEL

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1127/0077-7749/2012/0254

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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