Osteometric analysis of the scapula and humerus of Rangifer tarandus and Cervus elaphus : A contribution to the discrimination of Late Pleistocene cervids
Castaños de la Fuente, Jone
Murelaga Bereicua, Javier
Ortega Cuesta, Luis Ángel
Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 59 (4) : 779-786 (2014)
Fossil remains of reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) occurring outside their present range are an important indicator of formerly cold climatic conditions, but are easily confused with those of the red deer (Cervus elaphus). The locality of Kiputz IX has yielded one of the best-preserved Late Pleistocene reindeer populations of the southern Pyrenees, occurring in association with Bison priscus and the much more abundant Cervus elaphus. Fossil remains from this site are mostly complete and not affected by human intervention, thus creating the perfect conditions for reliable osteometric analyses. Here, we quantify diagnostic morphological features of the scapula and the humerus of Cervus elaphus and Rangifer tarandus to establish the potential of these bones to aid in interspecific discrimination. In the case of the scapula, the best species discriminator is the ratio of the minimum anteroposterior diameter of the scapular neck and the development of the articular process, while the breadth of the trochlea is the best discriminator in the case of the humerus.