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Bone-collecting by harvesting ants

  • Pat Shipman (a1) and Alan Walker (a2)

Abstract

Bone-collecting behavior in the harvester ant, Messor barbarus, has been observed for the first time. Excavation to the depth of the packed substrate of a single ant hill yielded 1167 modern bones derived from nine or more species of small vertebrates. Since harvester ants of various species are well-known from the Americas, Africa, and Eurasia, ants may have served as important agents of concentration for micromammal assemblages in the fossil record. Analysis of the faunal and skeletal representation of the ant hill assemblages reveals characteristic patterns that might be used to distinguish such assemblages from those collected by avian or mammalian predators.

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Bone-collecting by harvesting ants

  • Pat Shipman (a1) and Alan Walker (a2)

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