Diet, Sex, and Fitness: The Nutritional Potential of the Fish Slough Cave Diet Revisited

Author(s): Wendy Nelson

Year: 2015


Archaeological investigations conducted in the late 1980s at Fish Slough Cave, Owens Valley, California recovered over 300 well-preserved human coprolites. When the nutritional profile of the diet inferred from coprolite analysis was compared against optimal foraging model predictions, based on energetic returns, the diet was considered to be deficient. However, when the same data were considered from a nutritional ecological perspective using macronutrients (e.g., water, protein, fat and carbohydrates) as the currency, the diet was more favorable. The current study goes a step further by taking a holistic approach and addressing nutritional needs based on age, sex, and level of activity and the role both macro- and micronutrients play in an individual’s overall fitness. This research, based on nutritional ecological principles, suggests that the variation in nutritional needs may in part have contributed to shifts in settlement and subsistence patterns observed in the Late Prehistoric Period.

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Cite this Record

Diet, Sex, and Fitness: The Nutritional Potential of the Fish Slough Cave Diet Revisited. Wendy Nelson. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 394861)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -125.464; min lat: 32.101 ; max long: -114.214; max lat: 42.033 ;