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Inproceedings Reference New Neandertal remains from Trou Magrite, Belgium
Trou Magrite is a cave site located at Pont-à-Lesse in the Lesse Valley, commune of Dinant, Belgium. It has been known since E. Dupont conducted excavations at the site in 1867 [1]. The most recent fieldwork was done by L. Straus and M. Otte in 1991-92 [2]. Trou Magrite yielded rich lithic assemblages, osseous artifacts, mobiliary art, and numerous faunal remains. Several human re- mains were also recovered and identified as Palaeolithic humans by E. Dupont but have been only partially published thus far. The archaeological record covers a broad time range spanning from the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic to the Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Iron Age. An important Middle Palaeolithic collection is present, probably representing several occupation phases during the Late Pleistocene [2]. Unfortunately, although E. Dupont conducted excavations that can be characterized as modern for that time, the materials from the different so-called “fauna-bearing levels” that he defined in the field were mixed post-excavation [3]. In 2015, we initiated a multidisciplinary re-assessment of the human and faunal collections from Trou Magrite in order to update the inven- tory of human remains already identified, check for the presence of human remains that may have been previously overlooked, and verify their chronocultural context. We revised the already known human collection, conducted a systematic sorting of the faunal material, and combined the use of morphometrics, taphonomy, stable isotopes, dating, and genetic analyses to perform taxonomic and chronocultural identifications. Here we present two previously unidentified Neandertal fossils that we isolated from the Trou Magrite faunal material excavated by E. Dupont in the 19th century. They represent two different individuals: an adult/adolescent, represented by an upper right permanent canine, and a neonate, represented by the diaphysis of a left femur. Whereas no endoge- nous DNA was recovered from the tooth, the palaeogenetic analyses of the neonate femur confirmed its Neandertal status and indicate its sex to be male. We will present the biological characteristics and mitochondrial DNA phylogenetic position of the Trou Magrite Neandertals, in particular with regard to the other Northern European Neandertals. Our project adds Trou Magrite to the list of Belgian sites that have yielded Neandertal fossils and helps to emphasize the importance of the Mosan Basin in Neandertal studies.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2019
Inproceedings Reference When diet became diverse: Isotopic tracking of subsistence strategies among Gravettian hunters in Europe
Subsistence strategies are key paleoecological features of Paleolithic hunter-gatherers and their deeper understanding provides crit- ical insights into essential aspects of human evolution. In this study, we discuss new collagen stable isotopic values (C, N, S) rep- resenting seven Gravettian individuals from the Troisième caverne of Goyet in Belgium. The dietary strategies of the Gravettian humans from Goyet are in line with the general trends observed among Western European Gravettian populations. These pop- ulations show both a low intake of mammoth and a high consumption of other terrestrial mammals as well as aquatic resources, such as at the sites Arene Candide and La Rochette. This is different for more eastern Gravettian hunter-gatherers, for example in Kostenki, Brno-Francouzska, Mal’ta, Předmostí, and Dolní Věstonice where the dietary contribution of mammoth meat was sig- nificantly higher. The stable isotopic data of the Gravettian humans from Goyet indicate that their dietary ecology was essentially based on terrestrial resources like reindeer, horse, and, to a lesser extent, mammoth. However, they yielded δ15N values that are substantially lower than those of the earlier modern humans and Neandertals from the same site [1-2]. We hypothesize that the Gravettian humans had much less mammoth in their diet than all earlier humans from the same region. It was previously shown that in northwestern Europe a decline of mammoth, a key prey species, could already be detected at the onset of the Upper Paleolithic [2]. This trend appears to continue into the Gravettian, despite the persistence of the typical mammoth ecological niche, which is represented by a grassland with high δ15N values. Interestingly, through isotopic analysis, we are able to track the spread of the horse from the local ecosystem (represented by specimens from Walou Cave, Belgium) into this niche now under-occupied by the mammoth. Radiocarbon dates obtained from several mammoth skeletal remains from the Troisième caverne of Goyet showed that this megaherbivore was indeed part of the ecosystem during pre-LGM periods. However, from the Gravettian in Goyet and the surrounding region we have only one mammoth specimen represented by a long bone, and interestingly, its sulphur isotopic signal indicates that this individual was not of local origin. We propose that the local mammoth population was under intensive hunting pressure or may even have been no longer present in the region. Instead, single individuals from other regions may have made it into the area and ended up as prey animals. While the δ15N values of all Goyet Gravettian humans are relatively homogeneous, their δ13C values are variable. This indicates significant dietary differences among the seven individuals, an observation that has not been described before for hunter-gatherers pre-dating the Gravettian. The human δ34S values also support substantial differences in life mobility history between different individuals, which were not observed for the Goyet Neandertals. The result that different mem- bers of the same chrono-group had various individual mobility histories has implications for land use procurement strategies of those hunter-gatherer groups. In conclusion, our new isotopic results demonstrate a broad ecological flexibility among Gravettian humans, which can be seen in different human ecosystem interactions across Europe. The Goyet individuals contribute substan- tially to a more complete understanding of hunter-gatherer’s ecology during this particular phase of the European Late Pleistocene. Our study shows that the Gravettian cannot be depicted as a uniform entity from an ecological perspective. It instead indicates that during this period, and not earlier, both inter- and intra-group diversity in subsistence strategies can be tracked through stable isotopic analysis.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2019
Inproceedings Reference Ammonoids and anoxia from the Belgian Frasnian: the Carrière de Lompret section
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2018
Inproceedings Reference A double whammy for dinosaurs and ammonites: fake news or the real deal
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2018
Article Reference Synopsis of Central Andean Orthalicoid land snails (Gastropoda, Stylommatophora), excluding Bulimulidae
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2016
Article Reference First inventory of Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) with detection of potentially invasive species in National Park of Ehotilés islands, Côte d’Ivoire
Estuarine and wetland ecosystems are becoming increasingly altered by the concentration of human population near the coastline. A major threat to biodiversity related to this is the introduction of invasive alien species. This is particularly the case for isolated ecosystems like islands where the invasion of non-native species is often harmful. The National Park of Ehotilés Islands is an archipelago of 6 islands and a RAMSAR site subjected to disturbances, namely agriculture, illegal fisheries, and tourism. These factors often act as an accelerator for the introduction of invasive species. However, there is a lack of research on insects, specifically ants, on these islands. This study aimed to inventory the present ant fauna and estimate the vulnerability to tramp and potential invasive ant species. Ants were collected using Winkler, pitfall, and funnel traps on five islands. In total, 76 ant species were recorded. These species are distributed into 20 genera and five subfamilies: Dolichoderinae (5 species), Formicinae (11 species), Myrmicinae (49 species), Ponerinae (11 species) and Proceratiinae (1 species). We also detected two tramp and potentially invasive species: the ghost ant Tapinoma melanocephalum and the big-headed ant Pheidole megacephala. Ant communities are dominated by six species, namely Odontomachus troglodytes, Oecophylla longinoda, Nylanderia lepida, Pheidole sp.2, Monomorium invidium, and the invasive ghost ant Tapinoma melanocephalum. This work is the first to inventory ants on the Islands of Ehotilés National Park and may serve as a basis for conservation decisions as it demonstrates that this park is not spared from the introduction of invasive ant species.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2024
Article Reference Soil‑litter arthropod communities under pasture land use in southern Rwanda
Land use change caused by human activities is the main driver of biodiversity loss and changes in ecosystem functioning. However, less is known about how the conversion of a natural to pasture land favour the biological diversity of soil-litter arthropods to advance efective conservation plans and management systems. To fll the gap, this study focussed on soil-litter arthropod communities under a pasture land use in southern Rwanda. Data have been collected using pitfall traps and hand collection between April and June 2021. Sampled specimens of soil-litter arthropods have been identifed to order and family levels by using dichotomous keys. Further, the species name was given when the identifcation key was available, while the morphological description was provided in absence of the identifcation keys. Results indicated a total of 3013 individuals of soil-litter arthropods grouped into 3 classes, 13 orders, 46 families and 87 morpho-species. Coleoptera showed a high number of families, while higher abundance and the number of morpho-species were found for ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Higher abundance of sampled soil-litter arthropods is a sign that the studied area ofers suitable habitat for soil-litter arthropods. However, less abundance found for some groups of soil-litter arthropods might be infuenced by the used sampling techniques which were not appropriate for them. We recommend surveys using multiple sampling techniques to maximize chances of capturing a wide range of soil-litter arthropods
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022
Article Reference Recent and old records of the rare myrmecophilous beetle Haeterius ferrugineus (Olivier 1789) in Belgium, Luxembourg and North-East of France
Haeterius ferrugineus (Olivier 1789) is a rarely observed histerid beetle which lives permanently in ant nests. We provide the first records of this species in Flanders, the northern part of Belgium, and give an overview of the scattered records for this species in Belgium, Grand-Duché of Luxembourg and the border region in the North of France gathered over the past 150 years.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2023
Article Reference Confirmation of Nicrophorus sepultor Charpentier, 1825 as a Belgian species (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae: Silphinae)
In this note the status of the burying beetle Nicrophorus sepultor Charpentier, 1825 as a Belgian species is confirmed based on eight specimens found in the collections of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS). The records are presented, mapped and the diagnostic features of this species are given.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022
Article Reference First records for Belgium of the ant species Myrmica vandeli Bondroit, 1920 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)
We report the first observations of Myrmica vandeli Bondroit, 1920 for Belgium. The species was found in an oligotrophic, undisturbed wet grassland in Richtenberg, Burg-Reuland in 2011 and 2021. This Myrmica species is rare in Europe and restricted to open wet meadows, swamps, fens and peatlands. Myrmica vandeli is added to the ant fauna of Belgium which now numbers 12 Myrmica species. It is possible that M. vandeli specimens were previously confused with specimens of its sister species Myrmica scabrinodis Nylander, 1846. Hence we suggest to revise all M. scabrinodis samples from the south-eastern part of Belgium (from Hautes Fagnes south to Luxembourg) as it is possible that M. vandeli was left unnoticed before and identified as M. scabrinodis.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022