Pre-Columbian Human Mobility and Interaction in the Caribbean: A Zooarchaeological and Ancient DNA Study of Guinea Pigs
Current zooarchaeological records indicate that humans introduced domestic guinea pig from South America to the Caribbean islands around AD 600. Using zooarchaeological and ancient DNA datasets from domestic guinea pig remains in the Caribbean, we address human mobility and interaction between the islands of the Caribbean and South America during the second half of the Ceramic Age (ca. AD 600-1500). We present new data regarding the continental origins of pre-Columbian guinea pig in the Caribbean, as well as the phylogenetic relationships among guinea pig remains from two sites located in different regions of Puerto Rico in the Greater Antilles (NCS-1 and Tibes) and from Carriacou located in the southern Lesser Antilles. The results indicate that all sampled guinea pig specimens share a common point of genetic origin based in the region that is modern Colombia, South America. The genetic data further suggest that guinea pigs arrived in the Caribbean as a single introduction not multiple distinct introductions. The temporal associations of the Puerto Rican guinea pigs suggest that the animals were introduced there first and then relocated to other islands, including the Lesser Antilles.
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Pre-Columbian Human Mobility and Interaction in the Caribbean: A Zooarchaeological and Ancient DNA Study of Guinea Pigs. Michelle LeFebvre, Birgitta Kimura, Susan deFrance. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395246)
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