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Data from: Deep learning improves taphonomic resolution: high accuracy in differentiating tooth marks made by lions and jaguars

Citation

Jiménez-García, Blanca (2020), Data from: Deep learning improves taphonomic resolution: high accuracy in differentiating tooth marks made by lions and jaguars, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.4b8gtht9g

Abstract

Taphonomists have long struggled with identifying carnivore agency in bone accumulation and modification. Now that several taphonomic techniques allow identifying carnivore modification of bones, a next step involves determining carnivore type. This is of utmost importance to determine which carnivores were preying on and competing with hominins and what types of interaction existed among them during prehistory. Computer vision techniques using deep architectures of convolutional neural networks (CNN) have enabled significantly higher resolution in the identification of bone surface modifications (BSM) than previous methods. Here, we apply these techniques to test the hypothesis that different carnivores create specific BSM that can enable their identification. To make differentiation more challenging, we selected two types of carnivores (lions and jaguars) that belong to the same mammal family and have similar dental morphology. We hypothesize that if two similar carnivores can be identified by the BSM they imprint on bones, then two more distinctive carnivores (e.g. hyenids and felids) should be more easily distinguished. The CNN method used here shows that tooth scores from both types of felids can be successfully classified with an accuracy greater than 82%. The first hypothesis was successfully tested. The next step will be to differentiate diverse carnivore types involving a wider range of carnivore-made BSM. The present study demonstrates that resolution increases when combining two different disciplines (taphonomy and artificial intelligence computing) in order to test new hypotheses that could not be addressed with traditional taphonomic methods.

Methods

Images captured through binocular microscope at 30 X

Funding

ministerio educacion y ciencia, Award: HAR2017-82463-C4-1-P