3D Geometric Morphometrics Applied in the Identification of Canis spp. specimen from a Historic Site in Western Texas
Whiskey Flats, an archaeological site on the Llano Estacado (western Texas), is dated to the mid-18th century and represents Comanche occupation. Ongoing fieldwork has produced a vertebrate assemblage that includes coyote (Canis latrans) and a larger canid (Canis spp.) of a species that remains undetermined. The species of canids that may have been present at the time of deposition are grey wolf (C. lupus), coyote, domestic dog (C. lupus familiaris), and possibly red wolf (C. rufus). The Canis spp. is represented by a small, non-diagnostic sample (n=15). In the absence of diagnostic elements such as a skull or mandible, three-dimensional landmark-based morphometric analysis is applied to the right astragalus to determine the viability of the specimen as an indicator of species. Principal component analysis (PCA) is performed using astragali from modern comparative samples of grey wolf, coyote, dog, and red wolf in an attempt to characterize quantitative variation and ultimately, determine if species identification is possible. The methodology has proven useful in exploring the range of variation among the canid species and results indicate that C. latrans is the least likely candidate. Dog or red wolf would prove significant, the former culturally and the latter in range and habitat.
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3D Geometric Morphometrics Applied in the Identification of Canis spp. specimen from a Historic Site in Western Texas. Lila Jones, Eileen Johnson. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443159)
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Abstract Id(s): 21531