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Differences in subsistence between Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans may suggest key behavioral changes during the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition. In this paper, I present archeozoological and stable isotopic analyses of Oryctolagus cuniculus (European wild rabbit) remains from levels 6, 7, 8 and 9 of Gruta Nova da Columbeira, a Mousterian cave site located in central Portugal. I use these data to explore two alternative hypotheses: 1. Anatomically modern humans gained a competitive advantage over Neanderthals by exploiting a broader-spectrum diet including small prey items such as the rabbit and 2. Neanderthals already on occasion practiced a broad-spectrum diet in at least some locations. Using a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of an older collection, this study suggests Neanderthals incorporated Oryctogalus as a component of their diet at Gruta Nova de Columbeira.


Middle Paleolithic, Iberia, subsistence, small game, rabbits

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