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Qualitative and quantitative studies of modifications to the hominid and nonhominid faunal assemblages from the Moula-Guercy level XV demonstrate parallels in processing. The antiquity of modification of both faunal and hominid remains is demonstrated by matrix cover and manganese rosettes superimposed on cut marks, as well as by multiple cut marks crossing ancient fracture edges of refit pieces discovered in different parts of the cave. Only one identifiable Cervus specimen shows carnivore modification.
None of the hominid remains do. In contrast, both hominid and deer bones show abundant and unequivocal evidence of hominid-induced modification. These modifications were studied and quantified according to criteria established elsewhere (4). Cut marks, percussion pits, anvil striae, adhering flakes, internal vault release, inner conchoidal scars, crushing of spongy bone, and peeling are all found on both the ungulate and hominid remains. In some instances, the cut and percussion marks show signature criteria to indicate successive strokes of the same implement in defleshing and percussing (Fig. 2).
There is similar post-discard polish on the hominid and nonhominid assemblages, possibly indicating that occupation of the cave continued after the butchery event or events had occurred. Refitting studies establish that fragments of fractured human bones were spread across 3 m of the cave and were distributed through ~30 to 40 cm of deposit (Fig. 1).
Cannibalism has been attributed to Neanderthals for nearly a century (6) and is a recurrent theme in considerations of their mortuary practices. Perimortem modifications are known from other Pleistocene localities, such as Krapina, Vindija (7), Marillac (8), Combe Grenal (9), Macassargues (10), Zafarraya (11), and even Europe's earliest occupation site, the Lower Pleistocene TD6 occurrence at Atapuerca's Dolina (12). Inferences of paleolithic cannibalism have been questioned on the basis of insecure spatial and stratigraphic data, as well as insecure identification of bone modifications. The largest skeletal series interpreted as evidence of cannibalism among Neanderthals is the Krapina assemblage from Croatia (13). The cannibalism interpretation was questioned by Trinkaus (14), who attributed the assemblage to other taphonomic factors. A subsequent analysis of perimortem cut marks on the Krapina Neanderthal bones by Russell (15) led her to conclude that there was: "postmortem processing of corpses with stone tools, probably in preparation for burial of cleaned bones" (p. 381). Both investigators deny any evidence of marrow processing of the Krapina Neanderthal limb bones (14, 16).