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

Cobden, Rommy and Clarkson, Chris and Price, Gilbert J. and David, Bruno and Geneste, Jean-Michel and Delannoy, Jean-Jacques and Barker, Bryce and Lamb, Lara and Gunn, Robert G. (2017) The identification of extinct megafauna in rock art using geometric morphometrics: a Genyornis newtoni painting in Arnhem Land, northern Australia? Journal of Archaeological Science, 87. pp. 95-107. ISSN 0305-4403

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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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Access to published version in accordance with the publisher's copyright policy.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Institute for Resilient Regions
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2018 01:46
Last Modified: 02 May 2018 23:08
Uncontrolled Keywords: rock art; geometric morphometrics; shape analysis; Genyornis painting; Arnhem Land
Fields of Research : 21 History and Archaeology > 2101 Archaeology > 210101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Archaeology
21 History and Archaeology > 2101 Archaeology > 210102 Archaeological Science
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australia's Past
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2017.09.013
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/33221

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