Construction of a Mule Deer General Utility Index

Author(s): Lisa Sparks

Year: 2016


Optimal foraging models and faunal analysis to interpret diet require quantitative data to negate variables of results. With the collection and processing of eleven mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) in the Sierra Blanca Region, New Mexico, a statistically significant database for analysis is constructed. Previous researchers collected a wide range of data with different methods. By synthesizing it into a solid and replicable method an index can be developed for subsequent species to enable accurate comparisons. The three criteria that provided for a broad sample are an even distribution of males and females, their collection through the seasons and ages that range from birth to natural death. Data collected are weights for meat, marrow and grease, processing times to determine the return rate and kcal/g yield for the energy content. There is an observed difference between mule deer GUI values of adults and juveniles, the sexes and seasons. The indices are compared to those constructed by Binford (1978) for caribou and Jacobson (2002) for the white-tailed deer. The mule deer GUI is applied to the faunal data of the Bonnell and Phillips sites in the Sierra Blanca region to determine differential transport of limb bones.

Cite this Record

Construction of a Mule Deer General Utility Index. Lisa Sparks. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405379)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;