Several assumptions on the size of the African aurochs have been tested primarily using measurements assembled from the literature. During the Holocene, the African aurochs was indeed smaller than its European and Near Eastern cousins and it appears also to have been more gracile. The available African aurochs measurements of this period probably derive mostly from male animals, since many females may have been misidentified as domestic cattle. Therefore, the degree of sexual dimorphism remains unknown, although iconographic evidence suggests that it may have been marked. Male Holocene aurochs probably reached a height of about 160 cm at the withers and is not taller than Pleistocene female aurochs, which grew to between 140 and 160 cm. The height at the withers of the Pleistocene male individuals is estimated at between 150 and 170 cm. As in Europe, the aurochs in Africa underwent a size decline between the Pleistocene and the Holocene. The Pleistocene African aurochs moreover seems to have been more robust than its Holocene successor.
The site of Garumele (700–200 years ago approx.), on the north-western shores of Lake Chad, has long been the subject of speculation by archaeologists and historians, due to its supposed link with the history of the Kanem- Borno polity and because of the presence of fragments of baked bricks at the site’s surface, probably the remains of structures. Recently the first detailed archaeological excavations were carried out at Garumele, yielding a great amount of cultural data, including faunal remains which are the subject of this paper. This faunal study is important because no such studies have up to now ever been produced for this part of the Chad Basin. It has shown a predominance of fish, represented by a large diversity of species, and of domestic animals, sheep, goat and cattle. Comparisons with sites on the Nigerian side of the Chad Basin give valuable comparative insights into the palaeo-economy and palaeo-ecology of Garumele; indeed the fauna recovered shows many similarities with that of other recent sites, all seemingly indicating economic specialisation.
This paper presents new information obtained from a recent excavation and reassessment of the stratigraphy, chronology, archaeological assemblages and environmental context of the Apollo 11 rockshelter, which contains the longest late Pleistocene and Holocene archaeological sequence in Namibia. The Middle Stone Age (MSA) industries represented at the site include an early MSA, Still Bay, Howieson’s Poort and late MSA. Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating of individual quartz grains yielded numerical ages for the Still Bay and Howieson’s Poort, and indicated the presence of a post-Howieson’s Poort phase. OSL dating also verified conventional and accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon ages for a further two later MSA phases. The timing of the transition from the MSA to the early Later Stone Age was also investigated. Improved resolution of the excavation and a more detailed stratigraphy revealed the presence of near-sterile cultural layers, which in some cases assisted in subdividing the MSA cultural phases. Such information, in combination with the new radiocarbon and OSL chronologies, helps address questions about the duration and continuity of MSA occupation at the site. Analyses of the faunal and archaeobotanical remains show some differences between the occupation phases at the site that may be associated with changing environmental conditions.