Osteomorphology and osteometry versus aDNA in taxonomic identification of fragmentary sheep and sheep/goat bones from archaeological deposits: Blydefontein Shelter, Karoo, South Africa

Authors

  • K. Scott University of South Africa
  • I. Plug University of South Africa

Abstract

Faunal remains from Blydefontein Shelter, excavated in 1985, were submitted to the authors for analysis in 2008. In addition to the wild species identified, one complete and some fragmented bones were identified as sheep (Ovis aries) or sheep/goat (Ovis/Capra) using osteomorphology and osteometry. Some of these bones predate the Bushman–Colonial contact period and also the Spoegrivier and Leopard’s Cave (Namibia) sheep finds. This makes the Blydefontein sheep the oldest yet to suggest the early presence of pastoralists in the east-central Karoo. These results, however, conflict with recently published aDNA results. We discuss the osteometry and the distinguishing morphological features of the sheep and sheep/goat bones and compare these to the taxa identified on the aDNA. The results confirm our earlier identifications and show conclusively that the aDNA analysis produced spurious identifications.

Published

2016-10-04

How to Cite

Scott, K., & Plug, I. (2016). Osteomorphology and osteometry versus aDNA in taxonomic identification of fragmentary sheep and sheep/goat bones from archaeological deposits: Blydefontein Shelter, Karoo, South Africa. Southern African Humanities, 28, 61-79. Retrieved from http://sahumanities.org/ojs/index.php/SAH/article/view/371

Issue

Section

Articles