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Investigating Genetic Structure and Dietary Ecology through Ancient DNA and Stable Isotopic Analysis of Prehistoric Dogs from San Nicolas Island, California

Author(s): Chelsea Smith

Year: 2015

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Summary

The study of prehistoric dogs has become a global trend. Not only did they fulfill a variety of roles and were an important part of past human societies, but they can be used to understand human-modified environments and human movement. On the California Channel Islands the domestic dog has been shown to be a significant component of the archaeological record. Dogs are uncovered in a variety of cultural contexts and their presence on the islands dates to the middle Holocene. Despite their cultural significance, little is known about prehistoric dogs on the Channel Islands. In this study ancient DNA and stable isotope analysis was performed on dog remains recovered from San Nicolas Island, California, from both known archaeological contexts and those collected by Loye Miller during the early 20th century. Preliminary aDNA results identified a mtDNA clade novel to the Americas and isotopic data suggest that these animals primarily subsisted on marine resources. The purpose of this research is to develop data that can be used to elicit information on the genetic lineage and diversity of Channel Island dogs, along with their dietary ecology. In addition this research underscores the importance of revisiting legacy archaeological and natural history collections.

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Investigating Genetic Structure and Dietary Ecology through Ancient DNA and Stable Isotopic Analysis of Prehistoric Dogs from San Nicolas Island, California. Chelsea Smith. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395592)


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Spatial Coverage

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

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America