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What Doña Ana Phase and Modern Jackrabbits (Lepus californicus) Can Tell Us About Climate Change in the Southeastern Southwest

Author(s): Brandon McIntosh

Year: 2017

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This paper documents the environmental conditions of the Tularosa Basin/Hueco Bolson during the Late Formative Period in the Jornada Mogollon Region of the U.S. Southwest by comparing stable carbon isotope values of black-tailed jackrabbits (Lepus californicus) from archaeological site LA 12361 to modern jackrabbits in southern New Mexico and west Texas. Recent research by Stephen Smith and his collaborators provides evidence that carbon isotope values of jackrabbit bone collagen produce an effective proxy for the plant communities, and by extension the environmental conditions, within which these herbivorous animals lived and foraged. Knowing this, it is possible not only to understand jackrabbit diet and environmental conditions in prehistory, but also to compare dietary and environmental proxies with modern jackrabbit stable carbon values to document how the environment has changed since the 13th Century. A comparison between archaeological and modern jackrabbits provide a deeper temporal context for understanding climate change in the Tularosa Basin and Hueco Bolson. Additionally, a discussion of the utility of stable hydrogen isotope analysis for differentiating between jackrabbit diets biased toward either C4 or CAM plants will be presented as a method to increase interpretive precision of dietary and environmental variability.

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What Doña Ana Phase and Modern Jackrabbits (Lepus californicus) Can Tell Us About Climate Change in the Southeastern Southwest. Brandon McIntosh. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429169)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16494

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