Season of death of the Dent mammoths distinguishing single from multiple mortality events

Daniel C. Fisher, David L. Fox

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

21 Scopus citations


The Dent site, in northeastern Colorado, is the first discovered, and still one of the most infuential, of the sites that document association of Paleoindians with late Pleistocene mammoths (Mammuthus columbi) in North America (see Brunswig, Chapter 3, this volume for an overview of site history). Yet the nature of this association remains a matter of debate. Open questions include whether the deaths of the mammoths were brought about directly by human hunting activity or by some other cause and whether the association represents a single, temporally coherent event or more than one event occurring at the same site. The study reported here is an attempt to answer these questions through data bearing on the season of death of individual mammoths. Season of death of faunal elements at archaeological sites has often been used to constrain interpretation of human subsistence behavior (e.g., Pike-Tay 1991; Spiess 1979). However, the techniques used here offer greater temporal resolution than is available through analyses of stages of tooth eruption and wear (e.g., Frison and Reher 1970) or cementum annuli (Lieberman 1994). Beyond showing the timing of death within the seasonal cycle, these techniques can provide paleoenvironmental data covering an extended portion of an organism's life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFrontiers in Colorado Paleoindian Archaeology
Subtitle of host publicationFrom the Dent Site to the Rocky Mountains
PublisherUniversity Press of Colorado
Number of pages31
ISBN (Print)9780870818905
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007


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