Digestive evanescence18 Aug 2012
Also in The Guardian, “Strange but true: science’s most improbable research” includes some taphonomy:
If you like shrews, especially if you like them parboiled, you'll want to devour a 1994 study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science. Called Human Digestive Effects on a Micromammalian Skeleton, it explains how and why one of its authors either Brian D Crandall or Peter W Stahl; we are not told which ate and excreted a 90mm-long (excluding the tail, which added another 24mm) northern short-tailed shrew (Blarina brevicauda).
I’ve always been fascinated by the evidence for hyena digestion on Pleistocene faunal remains – they crunch the bones and their stomachs etch the pieces into all manner of lozenge-like detritus. But I hadn’t thought much about human shrew-eating and the total dissolution of tiny toe bones.
Because who does think about that, really? I mean, besides zooarchaeologists.