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The Zooarchaeology and Isotopic Ecology of the Bahamian Hutia (Geocapromys ingrahami)

Author(s): Michelle LeFebvre ; Susan deFrance ; George Kamenov ; William Keegan ; John Krigbaum

Year: 2017

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Summary

Bahamian hutia (Geocapromys ingrahami) are small sized rodents endemic to the Bahamas. Fossil and subfossil records indicate broad geographic distribution of the rodent across the Bahamas in the past, while today Bahamian hutia naturally occur on one island. Bahamian hutia have received little attention archaeologically resulting in critical gaps in our understanding of both natural and anthropogenic patterns in Bahamian hutia distribution and life history. In conjunction with "traditional" zooarchaeological data (e.g., morphometric ranges, geographic distribution, and archaeological context), multiple isotope proxies from bone collagen, bone apatite, and tooth enamel apatite are presented to address geographical origins, management and dietary ecology of sampled archaeological hutia. For example, with respect to bone collagen, mean d13C (-19.5‰) and d15N (5.9‰) values support a predominantly C3-based dietary regime. Interestingly, one individual exhibits a large D13C apatite-collagen spacing of 11.8‰, which suggests some C4 carbohydrate food source in addition to C3-based protein in its diet. Strontium isotope ratios of second molar tooth enamel for all specimens assayed reflect 87Sr/86Sr of modern seawater, between 0.7091 and 0.7092. The data suggest significant indigenous human influence on Bahamian hutia in the past, providing a historical background for Bahamian hutia ecology and distribution today.


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The Zooarchaeology and Isotopic Ecology of the Bahamian Hutia (Geocapromys ingrahami). Michelle LeFebvre, Susan deFrance, George Kamenov, William Keegan, John Krigbaum. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429946)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -90.747; min lat: 3.25 ; max long: -48.999; max lat: 27.683 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16467

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