Document Detail

Stable nitrogen and carbon isotope ratios in bone collagen as indices of prehistoric dietary dependence on marine and terrestrial resources in southern California.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  3777147     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The ratios of 15N to 14N and 13C to 12C tend to be higher in marine than in terrestrial organisms. The concentrations of these isotopes in human bone collagen consequently can be used to make inferences about the contribution of marine and terrestrial resources to prehistoric diets. The utility of studying 15N/14N and 13C/12C ratios in conjunction with each other is illustrated by our analysis of 40 human burials from archaeological sites in the Santa Barbara Channel area of southern California. The mean delta 13C and delta 15N values (in per mil) of collagen from these skeletons decrease progressively from the Channel Islands (delta 13C = -14.0, delta 15N = +16.3) to the mainland coast (delta 13C = -14.5, delta 15N = +14.9) to the interior (delta 13C = -17.2, delta 15N = +10.9). These data suggest that Indians living on the Channel Islands during the late prehistoric period were heavily dependent on marine resources. The inhabitants of the mainland interior, in contrast, had a diet composed largely of terrestrial foods. From their isotope ratios, it appears that the Indians who lived on the mainland coast consumed a mixed diet containing substantial quantities of both marine and terrestrial resources. Differences in 15N/14N and 13C/12C ratios of individuals from mainland sites dating from the early and late prehistoric periods show that the marine component of the diet increased substantially through time. These isotopic data are consistent with pathological, faunal, and artifactual evidence of increased marine resource exploitation during the late prehistoric period.
P L Walker; M J DeNiro
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  American journal of physical anthropology     Volume:  71     ISSN:  0002-9483     ISO Abbreviation:  Am. J. Phys. Anthropol.     Publication Date:  1986 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1986-12-11     Completed Date:  1986-12-11     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0400654     Medline TA:  Am J Phys Anthropol     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  51-61     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Bone and Bones / analysis*
Carbon / analysis*
Carbon Isotopes
Collagen / analysis*
Nitrogen / analysis*
Nitrogen Isotopes
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Carbon Isotopes; 0/Nitrogen Isotopes; 7440-44-0/Carbon; 7727-37-9/Nitrogen; 9007-34-5/Collagen

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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