Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationDurham, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9380
Approve DateOctober 12, 2016
Project TitleKovarovic, Dr. Kristin F., Durham U., Durham, UK - To aid 'Bones of Ol Pejeta: Neotaphonomic and Ecological Survey (BONES)'
KRISTIN KOVAROVIC, Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom, was awarded funding in October 2016 to aid “Bones of Ol Pejeta: Neotaphonomic and Ecological Survey (BONES).” The remains of fossil animals represent an abundant dataset by which to address a variety of important questions relating to human evolution, including the ecological conditions in which our hominin ancestors evolved. However, because of the multitude of processes that modify or even remove remains from the fossil record, analytical techniques that utilize them cannot assume that the once living mammal species are represented accurately by their fossil bones. “Bones of Ol Pejeta: Neotaphonomic and Ecological Survey” is a long-term field study dedicated to understanding the processes that transform a living mammal community into a fossil assemblage through an investigation of these transformative processes at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya. Preliminary analyses indicate that its bone community is largely representative of the composition and abundances of the living mammal community, with as-of-yet unexplained differences in the warthog population. Additional data on carnivore damage has been collected, which will lead to a greater understanding of how the damage inflicted by predators biases the resulting bone community. Finally, measurements of antelope bones that can be used to predict the habitats they exploit, have been taken to provide a test case for demonstrating how biases may affect ecological interpretations.