What is Dama celiae?

A team of researchers from the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales in Madrid, Spain, has described a new species of deer, Dama celiae, from fossils found in the Manzanares valley. This discovery provides valuable insight into the diversity of cervids during the Pleistocene epoch, which lasted from 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago.

The Fossils and Other Species

The fossils were found alongside other species in the valley, including Anas platyrhynchos, Equus ferus, Elephas antiquus, Mauremys leprosa, Bison sp., Bos primigenius, and Stephanorhinus hemitoechus. The valley is known for its rich deposits of fossils and artifacts, including a vast collection of Acheulean stone tools found in sand quarries.

Characteristics of Dama celiae

The antlers of Dama celiae are characterized by two points and a bifurcation between the brow tine and main beam, with a blunt angle and a low position above the burr. Its lineage can be traced back to Dama farnetensis, followed by Dama vallonnetensis, Dama roberti, and finally Dama celiae.

Neanderthals and the Acheulean Culture

Dama celiae lived during the same time as the Neanderthals and the Acheulean culture. Cut marks on the rib of one of the fossils suggest that it was consumed by Neanderthals and likely hunted. The researchers speculate that spears like those found at the Schöningen site in Germany or lithic spear points similar to those in other regions with Mousterian points or convergent scrapers may have been used to hunt Dama celiae.

The Significance of the Discovery

The discovery of Dama celiae adds to our understanding of cervid diversity during the Pleistocene epoch. The detailed microwear studies of the tools and bones could allow for further interpretation of hunting strategies and behavior. The description of this new species of deer also provides insight into the life and environment of this time period.



Leave a Reply