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Philippe FOSSE

Palaeontologist. Member of the UMR 5608 - TRACES of the CNRS

His research involves the documentation of human/animal relations in the Palaeolithic (the acquisition, use and treatment of animal resources over time), by attempting to characterise part of the bone assemblies produced and/or modified by non-human agents (large carnivore predators/carrion eaters from Africa [Crocuta, Parahyena, Hyaena, Hystrix], from Europe [Canis, Ursus, Lynx, Gypaetus, Corvus] and natural agents [weatherisation]) by comparing them to anthropogenic sites (from the end of the late Palaeolithic in the Pyrenees). This research is necessarily diachronic (Pleistocene and Holocene deposits) and multidisciplinary (the biology of modern mammal species, morphometric data and fossil samples). Such actualistic approaches authorise significant sampling (repeatability of the analyses), thereby being able to liberate the intrinsic variability of fossil observation contexts (the intraspecific variability of bone accumulations in relation to how long a site was occupied for; the effect of taphonomic, biological and physio-chemical processes that conditioned the structuring of the assemblies). The end purpose is to draw up a taphoteque (bone samples and images) enabling the proposal of specific diagnostic morphotypological criteria that can be transferred to Pleistocene deposits with signs of human presence and animal activity. Said taphonomic references involve the quantification of the consumption and the destruction of prey on the site of predation (= open air Pleistocene sites), transport sites and waste sites in the lair (= sites in Pleistocene caves). This research aims to define the chronobiological modalities of cave habitation by human groups and large quaternary predators. 


Skull on the block,Displaced bones,Cave Bears,Bear Footprints,The Wolf,The Fauna,Bear hollows,Hillaire Chamber,Skull Chamber,Ibex skull in the cave floor ,Bear clawmarks,Bone concentrations,The Morel chamber,The Hillaire Chamber - North