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archaeofauna
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: archeofauna
CATEGORY: technique; fauna
DEFINITION: Any assemblage of animal remains recovered from a single archaeological context.
fauna
CATEGORY: fauna
DEFINITION: Animals.
faunal analysis
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: The study of animal remains in an archaeological site, as by identifying bones or shells, examining butcher marks, and so on. The analysis is used to determine past hunting and dietary practices.
faunal association
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A relative age determination technique based on archaeological associations with remains of extinct species.
faunal dating
CATEGORY: technique
DEFINITION: A method of relative dating based on observing the evolutionary changes in particular species of mammals, so as to form a rough chronological sequence.
faunal ecofact
CATEGORY: term; fauna
DEFINITION: An ecofact derived from animals, including bones, teeth, antlers, and so forth. They are usually subdivided into human remains and nonhuman ecofacts.
faunalturbation
CATEGORY: term; geology; fauna
DEFINITION: A disturbance of the soil surface by animals, especially by the burrowing and tunneling of gophers, mice, rabbits, etc.
macrofauna
CATEGORY: fauna
DEFINITION: Large animals, cf. microfauna.
megafauna
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: mega-fauna
CATEGORY: fauna
DEFINITION: The large, Ice Age big-game fauna in North America, now extinct. These Late Pleistocene food sources included mammoths, mastodon; giant bison, sloths, camels, and diprotodons. The term also covers extinct larger species of quite small animals, such as giant beavers. The late Pleistocene extinction of megafauna did not occur synchronously nor was it of equal magnitude throughout the world. Considerable doubt exists regarding the timing of the megafaunal extinction on various landmasses. Evidence suggests that the earliest mass megafaunal extinctions occurred in Australia and New Guinea about 30,000 or more years ago. Eighty-six percent of the Australian vertebrate genera whose members weighed more than 40 kilograms became extinct. Much smaller extinction events occurred in Africa, Asia, and Europe earlier in the Pleistocene, removing very large species such as rhinoceroses, elephants, and the largest artiodactyls. Other mass megafaunal extinction events occurred on the Eurasian tundra about 12,000 years ago (affecting mammoths, Irish elk, and woolly rhinoceroses); in North and South America they occurred about 11,000 years ago (affecting a wide variety of species, including elephants, giant sloths, lions, and bears). These extinctions have removed 29 percent of the vertebrate genera weighing more than 40 kilograms from Europe and 73 percent of such genera from North America. Until 1,000 to 2,000 years ago the megafauna of large, long-isolated landmasses such as New Zealand and Madagascar survived. Gigantic birds such as the elephant birds of Madagascar and the moas of New Zealand disappeared in the past few thousand years.
microfauna
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: adj. microfaunal
CATEGORY: fauna
DEFINITION: Small animals, such as rodents and insectivores, as compared with macrofauna. Besides referring to the small or strictly localized fauna, as of a microenvironment, the term is applied to minute animals, especially those invisible to the naked eye.

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