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Geometric morphometrics of California and bay mussels: an analysis using 3D geometric morphometric techniques

Author(s): Stephen M. Hennek ; Stephen Hennek ; Diane Gifford-Gonzalez ; Susan C. Kuzminky ; Tatiana Xifara

Year: 2015

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Mussel species comprise a substantial portion of dietary evidence from archaeological sites along the California coast. Most research has concentrated on harvesting, meat yields, and transport of California mussel (Mytilus californianus). Fewer studies have engaged with bay mussels (Mytilus trossulus) within the California archaeological record. Bay mussel harvesting, shell measurement methods, and meat yields have not been analyzed systematically. Our study used actualistic samples of both species from modern shell beds to explore the utility of 3D laser surface scanners and geometric morphometric techniques in estimating meat weights from shell fragments such as those recovered from archaeological sites. Modern California mussels showed strong relationships between shell length or shell volume and meat weight, but actualistic bay mussel samples produced more equivocal results. Based upon our ground-truth sample explorations, we recommend a measurement technique for the smaller and somewhat differently shaped M. trossolus shell umbos. Observations on interspecific differences are relevant to analyses of archaeological mussel assemblages from coastal California and elsewhere.

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Geometric morphometrics of California and bay mussels: an analysis using 3D geometric morphometric techniques. Stephen Hennek, Stephen M. Hennek, Susan C. Kuzminky, Diane Gifford-Gonzalez, Tatiana Xifara. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397604)


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