Thomas Tütken

Thomas Tütken
Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz | JGU · Institute for Geosciences

Prof. Dr.

About

128
Publications
47,684
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3,930
Citations
Citations since 2016
61 Research Items
2468 Citations
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Introduction
As geochemist and palaeontologist my main research focus is on the isotope geochemistry of skeletal remains of fossil vertebrates such as dinosaurs, mammals (including humans), sharks. My research interests are: • Development of new isotope proxies for bioapatite • Diet and fossil foodwebs • Thermophysiology of fossil vertebrates • Palaeoclimate reconstruction • Provenance/mobility of humans/animals • Diagenesis of bones & teeth

Publications

Publications (128)
Article
Full-text available
The nature of the physiology and thermal regulation of the nonavian dinosaurs is the subject of debate. Previously, arguments have been made for both endothermic and ectothermic metabolisms on the basis of differing methodologies. We used clumped isotope thermometry to determine body temperatures from the fossilized teeth of large Jurassic sauropod...
Article
A differentiated reconstruction of palaeolimnologic, –environmental, and –climatic conditions is presented for the Middle Miocene long-term freshwater lake (14.3 to 13.5 Ma) of the Steinheim basin, on the basis of a combined C, O, and Sr isotope study of sympatric skeletal fossils of aquatic and terrestrial organisms from the lake sediments.The oxy...
Article
Full-text available
Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios of collagen from bone and dentin have frequently been used for dietary reconstruction, but this method is limited by protein preservation. Isotopes of the trace element zinc (Zn) in bioapatite constitute a promising proxy to infer dietary information from extant and extinct vertebrates. The ⁶⁶Zn/⁶⁴Zn ratio...
Article
Nitrogen isotope ratios (δ¹⁵N) are a well-established tool for investigating the dietary and trophic behavior of animals in terrestrial and marine food webs. To date, δ¹⁵N values in fossils have primarily been measured in collagen extracted from bone or dentin, which is susceptible to degradation and rarely preserved in deep time (>100,000 years)....
Article
Full-text available
Although cooking is regarded as a key element in the evolutionary success of the genus Homo, impacting various biological and social aspects, when intentional cooking first began remains unknown. The early Middle Pleistocene site of Gesher Benot Ya’aqov, Israel (marine isotope stages 18–20; ~0.78 million years ago), has preserved evidence of h...
Article
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The exploitation of mid-and large-sized herbivores (ungulates) was central to hominin subsistence across Late Pleistocene Europe. Reconstructing the paleoecology of prey-taxa is key to better understanding procurement strategies, decisions and behaviors, and the isotope analysis of faunal bones and teeth found at archaeological sites represent a po...
Article
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It is widely known that post mortem diagenetic alteration processes cause modifications and overprinting of the chemical and isotopic proxies incorporated in vivo in bone apatite and collagen. Understanding the processes occurring during the interaction between fluids and bones in an early diagenetic setting is fundamental to determining the extent...
Article
Abstract The characterization of Neandertals’ diets has mostly relied on nitrogen isotope analyses of bone and tooth collagen. However, few nitrogen isotope data have been recovered from bones or teeth from Iberia due to poor collagen preservation at Paleolithic sites in the region. Zinc isotopes have been shown to be a reliable method for reconstr...
Article
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In mammals, complex dental microwear textures (DMT) representing differently sized and shaped enamel lesions overlaying each other have traditionally been associated with the seeds and kernels in frugivorous diets, as well as with sclerotized insect cuticles. Recently, this notion has been challenged by field observations as well as in vitro experi...
Article
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Dental microwear texture (DMT) analysis is used to differentiate abrasive dental wear patterns in many species fed different diets. Because DMT parameters all describe the same surface, they are expected to correlate with each other distinctively. Here, we explore the data range of, and correlations between, DMT parameters to increase the understan...
Preprint
Full-text available
Nitrogen isotopes are widely used to study the trophic position of animals in modern food webs, however, their application in the fossil record is severely limited by degradation of organic material during fossilization. In this study, we show that the nitrogen isotopic composition of organic matter preserved in mammalian tooth enamel (δ15Nenamel)...
Article
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Diet is a crucial trait of an animal’s lifestyle and ecology. The trophic level of an organism indicates its functional position within an ecosystem and holds significance for its ecology and evolution. Here, we demonstrate the use of zinc isotopes (δ66Zn) to geochemically assess the trophic level in diverse extant and extinct sharks, including the...
Article
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Triple oxygen isotope data of tooth enamel (phosphate) from 16 modern marine vertebrates (sharks, mammals) from different marine habitats are presented. Marine mammal data show a clear signature of isotopically anomalous metabolic oxygen in their bioapatite. This is related to a low flux ratio of isotopically normal drinking and food water to anoma...
Article
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The cover image is based on the Research Article A simple CO2 equilibration method for measuring blood oxygen isotope compositionsy by Daniel R. Green et al., https://doi.org/10.1002/rcm.9256.
Article
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Bones and teeth are biological archives, but their structure and composition are subjected to alteration overtime due to biological and chemical degradation postmortem, influenced by burial environment and conditions. Nevertheless, organic fraction preservation is mandatory for several archeometric analyses and applications. The mutual protection b...
Article
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Experimental approaches are often used to better understand the mechanisms behind and consequences of post-mortem alteration on proxies for diet reconstruction. Dental microwear texture analysis (DMTA) is such a dietary proxy, using dental wear features in extant and extinct taxa to reconstruct feeding behaviour and mechanical food properties. In f...
Article
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Rationale: Blood water oxygen isotope compositions can provide valuable insights into physiological processes and ecological patterns. While blood samples are commonly drawn for medical or scientific purposes, blood fractions are infrequently measured for oxygen isotopic compositions (δ18 O) because such measurements are time consuming and expensi...
Article
Tam Pà Ling, a cave site in northeastern Laos, has yielded the earliest skeletal evidence of Homo sapiens in mainland Southeast Asia. The reliance of Pleistocene humans in rainforest settings on plant or animal resources is still largely unstudied, mainly due to poor collagen preservation in fossils from tropical environments precluding stable nitr...
Article
The outfit of husbandry facilities of, and the enrichment provided for, experimental rodents plays an important role in the animals’ welfare, and hence also for the societal acceptance of animal experiments. Whether rats and mice benefit from being provided with running wheels or plates is discussed controversially. Here we present observations fro...
Article
Dental microwear texture analysis (DMTA) is a common wear proxy using dental wear features to reconstruct diet in extant and extinct taxa. Dietary reconstructions of extinct species can be biased due to post-mortem mechanical modification of the dental surface. These post-mortem surface alterations can be caused by material loss after death, or as...
Article
Dental microwear texture analysis (DMTA) is widely used for diet inferences in extant and extinct vertebrates. Often, a reference tooth position is analysed in extant specimens, while isolated teeth are lumped together in fossil datasets. It is therefore important to test whether DMT is tooth position specific, and if so, what the causes for wear d...
Article
Full-text available
Bones are one of the most common vertebrate fossil remains and are widely used as proxy archives in palaeontology and archaeology. Previous histological analyses have shown that bone microarchitecture is mostly well-preserved in fossil remains, but partially or even entirely lost in most archaeological specimens. As a consequence, processes occurri...
Article
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Stable isotope ratios and trace element concentrations of fossil bones and teeth are important geochemical proxies for the reconstruction of diet and past environment in archaeology and palaeontology. However, since diagenesis can significantly alter primary diet-related isotope signatures and elemental compositions, it is important to understand a...
Experiment Findings
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Skeletal remains in archaeological strata are often assumed to be of similar ages. Here we show that combined Sr and O isotope analyses can serve as a powerful tool for assessing fish provenance and even for identifying fossil fish teeth in archaeological contexts. For this purpose, we established a reference Sr and O isotope dataset of extant fish...
Article
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Strontium isotopes in biogenic apatite, especially enamel, are widely employed to determine provenance and track migration in palaeontology and archaeology. Body tissues record the 87 Sr/ 86 Sr of bioavailable Sr of ingested food and water. To identify non-local individuals, knowledge of the 87 Sr/ 86 Sr of a non-migratory population is required. H...
Article
Sharks are apex-predators that play an important role in past and present aquatic food webs. However, their diet - especially in extinct species - is often not well constrained. Dental microwear texture analysis (DMTA) has been successfully applied to reconstruct diet and feeding behaviours of different aquatic and terrestrial vertebrates. However,...
Article
Paleobiologists tend to use dietary information as an ecological indicator because diet is a fundamental link between an organism and its environment. However, the ecological information from fossilized hard tissues is often difficult to interpret, because links between environment, diet, and hard tissue biology are insufficiently studied in modern...
Article
Significance Dental wear analyses are used for diet reconstruction in (paleo-)biology and (paleo-)anthropology. Whether microscopic traces (microwear) are primarily caused by internal (phytoliths) or external (mineral dust/grit) abrasives is still debated. We fed guinea pigs pelleted diets including mineral abrasives of different mineralogy, size,...
Article
Dental microwear texture (DMT) analysis is commonly applied for dietary reconstruction of vertebrates. The temporal scale on which dietarily informative microscopic wear forms on enamel surfaces is crucial to infer dietary flexibility and seasonality. Microwear is assumed to form shortly before the individual's death, reflecting information pertain...
Article
Full-text available
Zinc (Zn) isotope ratios of dental enamel are a promising tracer for dietary reconstruction in archeology, but its use is still in its infancy. A recent study demonstrated a high risk of Zn contamination from nitrile, and latex gloves used during chemical sample preparation. Here we assess the potential impact of the use of such gloves during ename...
Poster
The intra-mountainous Saar-Nahe Basin (SNB), SW Germany, a strike-slip-fault basin formed during the Variscian orogeny, was filled by a large freshwater lake system during the Early Permian. The SNB experienced intense syn- and post-depositional magmatic activity, resulting in a complex volcano-sedimentary sequence of magmatic intrusions, lava flow...
Article
Guinea pigs are assumed to practice caecotrophy to a higher degree than rats. Studies from leporids suggest that through the practice of caecotrophy, hindgut fermenting species could build up microbial fatty acids (FA) in body tissues. We hypothesized that microbial FA would be detectable in the body tissue of guinea pigs and rats, and this to a hi...
Article
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The provenance and depositional setting of the human remains in the Dietersberg Cave, located in the Franconian Alb in Southern Germany, are evaluated based on 14C-dates and stable isotope analyses (C, N, O, Sr). Four basic scenarios are discussed: (1) human sacrifice, (2) ‘regular’ burial place for a small social unit, (3) special social group (e....
Preprint
Here we present phosphate oxygen isotope (d 18 O PO4) data from horse (Equus sp.) tooth enamel (bio-apatite) from the early Eemian and early Weichselian find levels at the archaeological site of Neumark-Nord 2, Germany. Based on the relationship between d 18 O PO4 of bioapatite, body water, local precipitation and air temperature, these data are us...
Article
The effect of phytoliths on tooth wear and function has been contested in studies of animal-plant interactions. For herbivores whose occlusal chewing surface consists of enamel ridges and dentine tissue, the phytoliths might particularly erode the softer dentine, exposing the enamel ridges to different occlusal forces and thus contributing to ename...
Article
In most chemical reactions, stable isotopes are fractionated in a mass-dependent manner, yielding correlated isotope ratios in elements with three or more stable isotopes. The proportionality between isotope ratios is set by the triple isotope fractionation exponent, θ, that can be determined precisely for e.g. sulfur and oxygen by IRMS, but not fo...
Article
Black shale samples from sedimentary layers below and between the Unterer Stein, Oberer Stein, Inoceramus Bank, and Nagelkalk horizons from the Dormettingen quarry, SW Germany were analysed for their Re and Os isotope composition and content. The ~12-m-thick sedimentary sequence of the Posidonia Shale Formation, composed of multiple layers of black...
Article
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Here we explore the carbon and oxygen isotope compositions of the co-existing carbonate and phosphate fractions of fish tooth enameloid as a tool to reconstruct past aquatic fish environments and harvesting grounds. The enameloid oxygen isotope compositions of the phosphate fraction (δ18OPO4) vary by as much as ~4‰ for migratory marine fish such as...
Article
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Lepidosauria show a large diversity in dietary adaptations, both among extant and extinct tetrapods. Unlike mammals, Lepidosauria do not engage in sophisticated mastication of their food and most species have continuous tooth replacement, further reducing the wear of individual teeth. However, dietary tendency estimation of extinct lepidosaurs usua...
Article
In the fossil record, teeth are often all that remains of a fossil organism. Dental microwear texture analysis (DMTA) is a common proxy for diet using dental wear features at the μm-scale, enabling comparative and quantitative assessments of various feeding traits in extant and extinct species. In extinct species, original diet-related dental wear...
Article
Clumped isotope data from carbonated apatite from in vivo and in vitro samples are presented to refine the relationship between mineral growth temperature and carbonate clumped isotopic composition (Δ 47 ). Δ 47 , δ ¹⁸ O and δ ¹³ C data were obtained from phosphoric acid digestion (T = 110 °C) of chemically untreated teeth from an African elephant,...
Article
Full-text available
Significance Ingesta leave characteristic wear features on the tooth surface, which enable us to reconstruct the diet of extant and fossil vertebrates. However, whether dental wear is caused by internal (phytoliths) or external (mineral dust) silicate abrasives is controversially debated in paleoanthropology and biology. To assess this, we fed guin...
Article
Full-text available
Past fish provenance, exploitation and trade patterns were studied by analyzing phosphate oxygen isotope compositions (δ18OPO4) of gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) tooth enameloid from archaeological sites across the southern Levant, spanning the entire Holocene. We report the earliest evidence for extensive fish exploitation from the hypersaline...
Article
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Stable carbon isotope analyses of vertebrate hard tissues such as bones, teeth, and tusks provide information about animal diets in ecological, archeological, and paleontological contexts. There is debate about how carbon isotope compositions of collagen and apatite carbonate differ in terms of their relationship to diet, and to each other. We eval...
Article
The fossil molluscan fauna of Sandelzhausen (Early/Middle Miocene, SE Germany) comprises a total of 44 species, mostly terrestrial pulmonate snails. Herein we present a paleoecological analysis of this fauna based on an actualistic approach and on data on stable isotopes of carbon and oxygen (assessed from specimens of the freshwater lymnaeid snail...
Article
Full-text available
The palaeobiogeography of key prey-species can provide valuable insights into animal-human interactions, human subsistence activities and landscape use in the past. In many contemporary indigenous Arctic societies, caribou (Rangifer tarandus spp.) are an important seasonal subsistence species, and recent climatic shifts have influenced the seasonal...
Article
The digestive system of the beira (Dorcatragus megalotis), a small East African antelope, has not been described previously. We present anatomical data collected from the only known captive population of the species, allowing for a first understanding of the morphophysiological ‘type’ of this species. The gastrointestinal anatomy was quantified by...
Article
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Feline carnivores are threatened by illegal wildlife trade. Tracing the provenance of unknown felid tissues via stable isotope analysis could provide important information in wildlife crime investigations. The oxygen isotope composition of mammalian skeletal phosphate (δ18Op) is widely applied to trace the origin of animal remains and to reconstruc...
Article
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Our understanding of the evolutionary transitions leading to the modern endothermic state of birds and mammals is incomplete, partly because tools available to study the thermophysiology of extinct vertebrates are limited. Here we show that clumped isotope analysis of eggshells can be used to determine body temperatures of females during periods of...
Article
Bonebeds comprise reworked and time averaged constituents of different phosphatic vertebrate remains and, hence, provide an ideal substrate for the study of long and short term diagenetic processes. To test whether trace elements (U, Sr, REE) and 87Sr/86Sr ratios can be used for distinguishing between successive diagenetic signals, we performed geo...
Article
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Current global warming is likely to result in a unipolar glaciated world with unpredictable repercussions on atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns. These changes are expected to affect seasonal extremes and the year-to-year variability of seasonality. To better constrain the mode and tempo of the anticipated changes, climatologists require u...
Article
Full-text available
Current global warming is likely to result in a unipolar glaciated world with unpredictable repercussions on atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns. These changes are expected to affect seasonal extremes and the year-to-year variability of seasonality. To better constrain the mode and tempo of the anticipated changes, climatologists require u...
Article
Full-text available
During the Oligocene, waxing and waning ice sheets on Antarctica caused global sea level fluctuations, as well as climatic and palaeoenvironmental changes that affected faunal evolution in Europe. The ∼24.7 Ma upper Oligocene lacustrine sediments of Enspel in western Germany have yielded a fossil vertebrate fauna of the Mammal Palaeogene (MP) refer...
Article
Here we report bone phosphate oxygen (δ(18) Op ) values from perinates/neonates and infants (<3.5 years; n = 32); children (4-12 years; n = 12); unsexed juveniles (16-18 years; n = 2); and adult bones (n = 17) from Wharram Percy, North Yorkshire, England, in order to explore the potential of this method to investigate patterns of past breastfeeding...
Article
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The Middle and early Late Jurassic Qigu and Shishugou Formations of the southern and central Junggar Basin yielded teeth of theropods (Theropoda indet.), sauropods (Eusauropoda indet.), and stegosaurs. The dinosaur assemblage of the southern Junggar Basin is less diverse and is represented by smaller forms than in the central part of the basin. The...
Chapter
The circulation of children and juveniles, that is : the spending of a large part of their subadult life away from the home of their biological parents, is a common practice within many traditional societies. Apart from economic functions, this institution is commonly regarded as a social means to secure and strengthen social relationships. R. Karl...
Article
Fossils of megaherbivores from eight late Pleistocene 14 C-and OSL-dated doline infillings of Ajoie (NW Switzerland) were discovered along the Transjurane highway in the Swiss Jura. Carbon and oxygen analyses of enamel were performed on forty-six teeth of large mammals (Equus germanicus, Mammuthus primigenius, Coelodonta antiquitatis, and Bison pri...