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Late Quaternary mammals of central Brazil revisited: an archaeological approach.

Grant number: 19/25908-1
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: March 01, 2021 - February 28, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Archeology - Prehistoric Archaeology
Cooperation agreement: CONFAP - National Council of State Research Support Foundations
Principal researcher:André Menezes Strauss
Grantee:André Menezes Strauss
Home Institution: Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia (MAE). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers:Alex Christian Rohrig Hubbe ; André Gomide Vasconcelos ; Annie Schmaltz Hsiou ; Augusto Sarreiro Auler ; Rodrigo Elias de Oliveira ; Simone Baes das Neves


Brazilian paleozoological research on mammals that became extinct at the end of the Quaternary, as well as on those that remain alive, focuses essentially on systematics. A consequence of this is that, so far, national research has generated little knowledge about other aspects pertinent to the study of the extinction of the late Quaternary fauna (ELQF) and its reflections on the surviving groups. Although ELQF has been debated for about 200 years, in Brazil such aspects are not well known because the vast majority of fossils of this fauna were excavated without techniques to understand the stratigraphy, genesis, age and evolution of paleontological sites. Consequently, it is not possible to use this vast collection in robust investigations into how the mechanisms of skeletal accumulation influenced the taxonomic composition of a given fossil deposit; what were the environmental conditions of the skeleton burial; what is the paleoecological meaning of those evidences; or how understanding these factors helps in the study of the extinction of the late Quaternary fauna (ELQF). This project seeks to: i) train human resources for Pará, through the participation of students in an innovative paleontological excavation in Cuvieri Cave, Matozinhos, MG, adapting methods from Archeology; ii) analyze and publish the data from this excavation, generating new knowledge about mammals from the end of the Quaternary and continuing the work that is already being conducted at Cuvieri Cave, MG; iii) prospecting the Paraíso Cave, Aveiro, PA, and other caves nearby, in search of deposits where the newly trained team can start an excavation by applying the knowledge acquired. The excavations for human resources training of the IEX-Unifesspa team (Xingu Studies Institute, Federal University of South and Southeast Pará, PA) will be carried out with support from the MAE-USP (Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, University of Sao Paulo-SP). Cuvieri Cave, MG, was chosen for being a cave site consecrated for its paleontological potential and pioneering approaches to the adaptation of archaeological methods to Paleontology. Curation and analysis of excavated skeletons and sediments will be performed by the IEX-Unifesspa team, under the guidance of the project coordinator. Complementary procedures will be conducted in partnership with the MAE-USP team and other collaborators. The identification of fossiliferous deposits in the Paraíso Cave, PA, or surroundings, will allow the continuity of the work of the newly trained IEX-Unifesspa team, applying the knowledge acquired in Pará territory. The realization of this proposal will contribute to the development of scientific and technological knowledge of the states involved (i.e. PA, SP, MG, BA), and Brazil as a whole, given that the planned approach to the excavations is innovative and represents a practice of excellence on the theme. This will be achieved by obtaining significant technical and scientific results for the area of study, combined with the training of human resources and academic development in Unifesspa's area of expertise. (AU)

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