Discovered an “latrine” hyena of a million years near Tarragona (Spain), a concentration of coprolites rare in archaeological contexts

The study of coprolites provide large information about the behavior of this animal

At the same time as the excavation was carried out topographic work in the area of ​​Cala 1 to set up a protective covering 200 square meters

català – Spanishphotos

The archaeological excavation season from May 11 until June 5, carried out by a team of IPHES (Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social) in the Barranc de la Boella (La Canonja, Tarragona, Spain) has uncovered a latrine coprolites (fossilized feces) of hyena, with a concentration of remains of these features rare in Pleistocene. The study of these fossils will provide information about how was the feeding of these animals and, consequently, what was the environment a million years ago.

Palmira Saladié, co-director of the excavation with Josep Vallverdú, both archaeologists from IPHES, said that these kinds of feces “are good traps to capture and retain pollen. They are very good to know how were the landscape and climate of a million years before. “This work will be doing for the palynologist Isabel Expósito and Francesc Burjachs, both also IPHES.

A coprolit of hyena
A coprolit of hyena
Latrine hyena of a million years discovered in Barranc de la Boella

At the same site, La Mina, the team has discovered an important lithic industry assemblage very well preserved. “This will give us a lot of information about the culture of the earliest human populations of Catalonia extending what we knew from previous campaigns”, said Palmira Saladié.

Cala 1, the other sites of the Barranc de la Boella team is working on this year, they are taking particular topographical data and preparing the ground for the installation of a protective cover. “It’s an area rich in remains of mammoths and stone knives, however, deepen in the coming years”, said Josep Vallverdú. The works of conditioning are possible thanks to the good relations between IPHES, the owners of the land and the town hall of La Canonja.