The identification of extinct megafauna in rock art using geometric morphometrics: A Genyornis newtoni painting in Arnhem Land, northern Australia?

Abstract : Identifying extinct fauna in rock art is a common but difficult exercise. Here we use geometric morphometric analysis of shape to examine the oft-cited painting from Arnhem Land attributed by Gunn et al. to the long-extinct species Genyornis newtoni. We compare the shape of key anatomical features in this painting to anatomical depictions of Genyornis as well as to two other possible candidates – the emu and the magpie goose. Comparisons are also made to rock art depictions of these birds from northern Australia. We find that while the so-called ‘Genyornis’ painting does more closely resemble anatomical depictions of Genyornis than any other bird examined, all rock art images overlap in shape to such a degree that confident assignment of this image to any avian species is problematic.
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Submitted on : Monday, October 15, 2018 - 3:36:28 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, October 27, 2018 - 1:10:07 AM

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Rommy Cobden, Chris Clarkson, Gilbert Price, Bruno David, Jean-Michel Geneste, et al.. The identification of extinct megafauna in rock art using geometric morphometrics: A Genyornis newtoni painting in Arnhem Land, northern Australia?. Journal of Archaeological Science, Elsevier, 2017, 87, pp. 95 - 107. ⟨10.1016/j.jas.2017.09.013⟩. ⟨hal-01895879⟩

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