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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Was Sloth the Ultimate Slow Food? An Archaeological Examination of Padre Nuestro Cavern, Dominican Republic
by Riley, Jenny Marie, Ph.D., Indiana University, 2017, 374; 10686597
Abstract (Summary)

Between 2005 and 2010, underwater diving teams from the Indiana University Center for Underwater Science performed surface collections in the entrance chamber to Padre Nuestro Cavern, a submerged freshwater limestone cavern in the southeastern peninsula of the Dominican Republic. The teams extracted both archaeological and paleontological materials including Chican Ostionoid ceramics indicating use of the cave by the Taino culture (ca. AD 1000–1500), Casimiroid lithics indicative of the Archaic culture (ca. 6000–500 BC), and various faunal remains including Amphibia, Aves, Gastropoda, Chiroptera, Perissodactyla, Megalonychidae, Osteichthyes, Primates, Reptilia, Rodentia, and Soricomorpha. This dissertation investigates possible evidence linking humans with the faunal assemblage from Padre Nuestro Cavern. Of particular interest are the Megalonychidae (sloth) remains, which display bone surface modifications that might indicate butchery by humans. The cultural and natural history of Hispaniola, the formation of the site, analysis of lithic artifacts and faunal remains, a taphonomic experiment, and a bone modification analysis are all considered in the final interpretations to answer the question of possible interaction between humans and sloths in the Caribbean. The results demonstrate possible butchery and consumption of sloth species by Archaic groups in Hispaniola, suggesting that these early inhabitants of the Caribbean may have contributed to sloth extinction in the region.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Conrad, Geoffrey W., Scheiber, Laura L.
Commitee: Cook, Della C., Njau, Jackson K., Sievert, April K.
School: Indiana University
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 79/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology, Caribbean Studies, Zoology, Native American studies
Keywords: Caribbean, Dominican Republic, Taphonomy, Xenarthra, Zooarchaeology
Publication Number: 10686597
ISBN: 978-0-355-56883-7
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