Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/88872
Type: Journal article
Title: Decomposition and disarticulation of kangaroo carcasses in caves at Naracoorte, South Australia
Author: Reed, E.H.
Citation: Journal of Taphonomy, 2009; 7(4):265-284
Publisher: Prometheus Press
Issue Date: 2009
ISSN: 1696-2648
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Elizabeth Reed
Abstract: This paper presents the results of a study of decomposition and disarticulation of kangaroo carcasses in caves at Naracoorte, South Australia. Carcasses were placed in two caves and observed over a period of nearly three years. Decomposition progressed rapidly within the caves with almost immediate infestation by blowflies and fungi. Invertebrate activity had ceased by 28 months; however, fungal colonisation continued for the course of the study period. Decomposition, skeletonisation and disarticulation were complete by 600 days. The results suggest that temperature and humidity play an important role in decomposition as this directly affects the activity of invertebrate and fungal decomposers. The position of the carcass within the cave influences the degree of dispersal of remains in pitfall caves. Disarticulation sequences for the experimental carcasses compare with those for kangaroo skeletons on the land surface in semi-arid South Australia, suggesting that regardless of environment, anatomy is a key factor in determining disarticulation sequence. The results of this study have applications for the assessment of stratigraphic integrity and reworking of fossil deposits in caves at Naracoorte and elsewhere.
Keywords: taphonomy; decomposition; disarticulation; caves; Naracoorte
Rights: Copyright status unknown
RMID: 0030020081
Appears in Collections:Earth and Environmental Sciences publications

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