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What Taphonomy Is, What it Isn't, and Why Taphonomists Should Care about the Difference

  • Autores: R. Lee Lyman
  • Localización: Journal of taphonomy, ISSN 1696-0815, Vol. 8, Nº. 1, 2010, págs. 1-16
  • Idioma: español
  • Resumen
    • The term "taphonomy" was originally defined by paleontologist I.A. Efremov in 1949 as "the study of the transition (in all its details) of animal remains from the biosphere into the lithosphere". The term evolved to include plant remains because Efromov also indicated that taphonomy concerned the "transition from the biosphere to the lithosphere". The concept and the term were both adopted by zooarchaeologists who were interested in whether modified bones represented prehistoric tools or were concerned about the fidelity of the paleoecological signal of a collection of faunal remains. Until the middle 1970s, the term still meant what Efremov originally intented. When some archaeologists adopted the term to signify the formation and disturbance of the archaeological record and natural modification of artifacts, they caused the term to take on meanings different than those orgininally specified by Efremov. Taphonomy concerns once living material whereas archaeological formation process concern both once living and never living material; taphonomy concerns the transition from living to non-living and geological, so includes both natural and cultural formation processes as either biasing or information laden and of research interest whereas archaeological formation concerns the transition from a living system to a non-living geological one but natural processe are biasing whereas cultural formation processes are of research interest. Taphonomists should quietly inform archaeologists who misuse the term that in so doing they exacerbate confusion and misunderstanding.

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