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Examining the Dietary Ecology of Ancient Channel Island Dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) and Island Foxes (Urocyon littoralis) Through Compound Specific Isotope Analysis of 13C and 15N from Bone Collagen

Author(s): Chelsea Smith ; Chris Yarnes

Year: 2017

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Summary

Advancements in gas chromatography/combustion/isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC/C/IRMS) have allowed researchers to examine isotopic compositions for individual amino acids (AAs) comprising protein-based tissues. This method, known as Compound Specific Isotope Analysis (CSIA), has the potential to overcome certain limitations associated with bulk tissue (e.g., bone collagen) isotopic analysis. Specifically, CSIA allows information about organismal ecology to be generated from discrete samples without the need for secondary data on consumer diet to be collected from outside sources. This study focuses on the analysis of carbon and nitrogen CSIA data by GC/C/IRMS for the purpose of studying the dietary ecology of prehistoric dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) and island foxes (Urocyon littoralis) excavated on San Nicolas Island, California. Prehistoric dogs were uniformly supported by marine protein, while foxes exhibited strong variation among individuals in their foraging behavior. We examine various approaches to trophic estimation by AA-CSIA and the dietary importance of marine organisms. Additionally, we examine measurement variation among analytical methods and argue for the adoption of uniformity in quality control and assurance. Overall the application of AA-CSIA has the potential to provide archaeologists with an effective method for reconstructing paleodiets and providing insight into ancient energy-flow pathways.


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Examining the Dietary Ecology of Ancient Channel Island Dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) and Island Foxes (Urocyon littoralis) Through Compound Specific Isotope Analysis of 13C and 15N from Bone Collagen. Chelsea Smith, Chris Yarnes. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429542)


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Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17241

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