Article

Sr/Ca and early hominin diets revisited: New data from modern and fossil tooth enamel

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Abstract

A previous study of strontium/calcium (Sr/Ca) ratios in Paranthropus suggested that it consumed more animal foods than was previously believed. However, that study looked at Sr/Ca in fossil bone, which is known to be highly susceptible to diagenesis. Enamel, in contrast, is resistant to post-mortem alteration making it a more appropriate material for Sr/Ca analysis of Plio-Pleistocene fossils. Yet, we know virtually nothing about Sr/Ca in the enamel of modern African mammals, much less fossil taxa. To address this gap, we studied Sr/Ca in tooth enamel from modern mammals in the greater Kruger National Park, South Africa, as well as fossil fauna from the Sterkfontein Valley. Grazing herbivores have the highest Sr/Ca, followed by browsers and carnivores in both modern and fossil fauna. This similarity in ecological Sr/Ca patterning between modern and fossil fauna shows that diagenesis has not obscured the primary dietary signals. Australopithecus has significantly higher Sr/Ca than Paranthropus, and higher Sr/Ca than fossil papionins, browsers, and carnivores. Paranthropus has lower Sr/Ca than grazers, but its Sr/Ca is higher or equal to that of fossil papionins, browsers, and carnivores. Thus, Sr/Ca for both hominins is relatively high, and provides no direct evidence for omnivory in either taxon. The consumption of underground resources or insects are among the possible explanations for the highly elevated Sr/Ca in Australopithecus.

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... Investigation of another isotopic ratio, that of strontium to calcium (Sr/Ca), has provided additional information regarding early hominin dietary components (e.g., Sillen, 1992;Sillen et al., 1995;Sponheimer et al., 2005b). As strontium levels have been observed to be generally higher in herbivores than faunivores, Sr/Ca levels have sometimes been used as an indication of the relative degree of herbivory vs. carnivory among different animals. ...
... This study also showed a higher ratio as well as a greater range of Sr/Ca levels among samples in the gracile form (A. africanus) than in the robust form (A./P. robustus) (Sponheimer et al., 2005b). ...
... This relatively high strontium level for both hominin taxa here (higher than carnivores and leaf-eating browsers in the modern Sterkfontein Valley, the latter showing the lowest Sr/Ca ratios) appears to contradict a lower value for Paranthropus found in a earlier study, which was taken to indicate a more omnivorous diet (including significant intake of some sort of animal foods) for this robust form (Sillen, 1992). Sponheimer et al. (2005b) reject insectivory as a likely cause of the relatively high Sr/Ca ratios in these australopithecine taxa, for while insectivores also have high Sr/Ca, another ratio, Ba/Ca, is high in insectivores but very low in the australopithecines here. The combination of high Sr/Ca and low Ba/Ca are noted to have been found in mole rats and warthogs, so that consumption of roots and rhizomes, an important component of the diet of these animals, is suggested as a possible cause of the isotope patterns observed (Sponheimer et al., 2005b). ...
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This chapter will present an overview of the Oldowan Industrial Complex (hereafter referred to as the Oldowan), discussing its definition, its chronological and geographic context, the nature of the Oldowan archaeological record, contemporaneous hominins, key issues, and recent trends in research over the past few decades. This introduction will provide a context and foundation for the subsequent chapters which present case studies into aspects of the Oldowan. We also hope that this chapter will serve as a reference for scholars interested in the Early Stone Age of Africa.
... These variable dietary signals have also been confirmed for Australopithecus at Makapansgat (Sponheimer & Lee-Thorp 1999). Analyses using ratios of strontium and calcium (Sr/Ca) in hominin enamel indicate that the Australopithecus diets from Sterkfontein Member 4 show higher Sr/Ca ratios relative to Paranthropus robustus from Swartkrans Member 1 (Sponheimer et al. 2005b; data reproduced in Table 10). The authors suggest that these results may suggest either high levels of grazing, or insectivory in the diets of Australopithecus from Sterkfontein (Sponheimer et al. 2005b). ...
... Analyses using ratios of strontium and calcium (Sr/Ca) in hominin enamel indicate that the Australopithecus diets from Sterkfontein Member 4 show higher Sr/Ca ratios relative to Paranthropus robustus from Swartkrans Member 1 (Sponheimer et al. 2005b; data reproduced in Table 10). The authors suggest that these results may suggest either high levels of grazing, or insectivory in the diets of Australopithecus from Sterkfontein (Sponheimer et al. 2005b). Both studies indicate that Australopithecus exploited grassland and woodland food sources regularly, or ate animals (termites, other fauna) that had eaten significant quantities of C 4 foods. ...
... Stable carbon isotope values for Member 4 Australopithecus africanus (data taken from van derMerwe et al. 2003, andSponheimer et al. 2005a). Strontium calcium ratios for Member 4 Australopithecus africanus (data taken fromSponheimer et al. 2005b). ...
Article
Seventy-five years after Robert Broom's discovery of the first adult Australopithecus in 1936, the Sterkfontein Caves (Gauteng Province, South Africa) remains one of the richest and most informative fossil hominin sites in the world. The deposits record hominin and African mammal evolution from roughly 2.6 million years (Ma) until the Upper Pleistocene. Earlier excavation efforts focused on the Member 4 australopithecine-bearing breccia and the Member 5 stone tool-bearing breccias of Oldowan and Early Acheulean age. Ronald J. Clarke's 1997 programme of understanding the cave deposits as a whole led to the discovery of the near-complete StW 573 Australopithecus skeleton in the Member 2 deposit of the Silberberg Grotto, and the exploration of lesser known deposits such as the Jacovec Cavern, Name Chamber and the Lincoln Cave. Our aim is to produce a cogent synthesis of the environments, palaeodietary information, fauna and stone artefacts as recorded in the Sterkfontein sequence. We begin with an overview of the site and early accounts of the interpretations of the site-formation processes, after which we discuss each Member in turn and summarize the various types of evidence published so far. Finally, we review the most pertinent debates about the site, including the ages of Sterkfontein Member 2 and 4, and the types of habitats represented at the site through time.
... For southern Africa, available data are limited to leopard Panthera pardus from C 3 western Cape habitats of South Africa (Sillen and Lee-Thorp 1994). Some attempts have also been made to characterize predator-prey interactions of fossil mammals from South African Plio-Pleistocene C 4 savannas, including early hominins and archaic Homo sapiens (Sillen and Lee-Thorp 1994;Lee-Thorp et al. 2000;Sponheimer et al. 2005), but insights are limited due to limited understanding of isotopic predator-prey relationships in the modern context. In this study, we present stable carbon and nitrogen isotope data from hair and faeces for a variety of mammalian carnivores and herbivores to examine carnivore diets in the Kruger National Park and other "lowveld" savanna habitats of South Africa. ...
... Trophic positions of mammal carnivores are shown in relation to data for herbivore hair and faeces data adjusted to estimated muscle equivalents. Data for termites are from Sponheimer et al. (2005) diet (70-80%) is derived from large grazers, which may be expected from the trophic placement of adjusted lion hair isotope data displayed in Fig. 1. This finding agrees with the predictions for the composition of lion diets in Kruger Park, although impala are also an important prey item (Mills and Funston 2003;Funston and Mills 2006). ...
... Stable nitrogen isotopes in bone do not, however, normally preserve in deep time due to postmortem denaturation of biological proteins. In these instances, trace elements (principally Sr/Ca ratios) can replace δ 15 N as a trophic level indicator (Sillen and Lee-Thorp 1994;Sponheimer et al. 2005). Further studies in modern African systems should improve models for isotopic reconstructions of predator-prey relationships in the past and may culminate in particularly revealing insights into the behavioural ecology of early hominins and other extinct mammals. ...
Article
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This paper characterises predator–prey interactions amongst African mammals from C4 savanna environments using stable carbon and nitrogen isotope proxies for diet. Stable carbon (δ¹³C) and nitrogen (δ¹⁵N) isotope data from hair and faeces of large African mammal carnivores and herbivores as potential prey are presented for a diverse range of taxa. Carbon isotope data imply that most carnivores from the “lowveld” savanna of South Africa form part of C4 grass-based foodwebs. Nitrogen isotope data show clear differences between trophic levels, although it appears the magnitude of these differences vary between predators feeding on invertebrates and vertebrates, respectively. While the number of carnivore samples for which data are available are relatively few and data for prey are restricted mainly to large ungulate herbivores, results clearly demonstrate the potential for future applications of this technique to predator–prey foodwebs in African savannas. In tandem with traditional approaches, stable isotopes can help elucidate patterns of predator impacts on prey populations, domestic livestock and resolving similar foodwebs in palaeoenvironmental contexts.
... The relative concentration of strontium to calcium (Sr/ Ca) in mammalian bioapatite has proven to be an effective indicator of trophic level, dietary behavior, and habitat use in both modern and ancient ecosystems (Elias et al., 1982;Sillen, 1986;Sealy and Sillen, 1988;Sillen et al., 1992;Gilbert et al., 1994;Burton et al., 1999;Blum et al., 2000;Balter et al., 2002;Palmqvist et al., 2003;Lee-Thorp et al., 2003;Balter, 2004;Sponheimer et al., 2005;Sponheimer and Lee-Thorp, 2006;Domingo et al., 2012;Peek and Clementz, 2012;Qu et al., 2013;de Winter et al., 2016). Strontium is a non-essential trace element, which mammals discriminate against relative to Ca in their intestines, kidneys, sites of bioapatite formation, and across the placenta and mammary glands (Taylor et al., 1962;Lengemann, 1963;Walser and Robinson, 1963;Underwood, 1977;Sasaki and Garant, 1986;Avioli, 1988;Rossipal et al., 2000;Chattopadhyay et al., 2007). ...
... This results in herbivore tissues having lower Sr/Ca ratios than the plants they consume and carnivores having lower Sr/Ca ratios than their prey (Elias et al., 1982;Burton et al., 1999;Blum et al., 2000). Systematic variations in Sr/Ca ratios also occur within trophic levels and can be used to assess the relative dietary contribution of certain plants and plant parts (Rao, 1979;Runia, 1987;Burton et al., 1999;Sponheimer et al., 2005;Sponheimer and Lee-Thorp, 2006;Domingo et al., 2012). Due to a decrease in Sr concentration that occurs during xylem transport (centripetal accumulation) plant roots and stems have higher Sr/Ca ratios than leaves and fruits (Bowen and Dymond, 1955;Runia, 1987;Sillen, 1992;Burton et al., 1999;Sponheimer et al., 2005;Drouet and Herbauts, 2008). ...
... Systematic variations in Sr/Ca ratios also occur within trophic levels and can be used to assess the relative dietary contribution of certain plants and plant parts (Rao, 1979;Runia, 1987;Burton et al., 1999;Sponheimer et al., 2005;Sponheimer and Lee-Thorp, 2006;Domingo et al., 2012). Due to a decrease in Sr concentration that occurs during xylem transport (centripetal accumulation) plant roots and stems have higher Sr/Ca ratios than leaves and fruits (Bowen and Dymond, 1955;Runia, 1987;Sillen, 1992;Burton et al., 1999;Sponheimer et al., 2005;Drouet and Herbauts, 2008). Grasses have been shown to have higher concentrations of Sr than the leaves of dicotyledonous plants (Sponheimer and Lee-Thorp, 2006). ...
Article
The early Late Miocene vertebrate locality of Rudabánya II (R. II) in northeastern Hungary preserves an abundance of forest-adapted ungulate species. To better understand the ecological relationships within this ancient ecosystem, we used analysis of enamel strontium/calcium (Sr/Ca) ratios to infer dietary preferences. The goals of the analysis were to: i) determine whether these ungulate species specialized in specific plants or plant parts; ii) discern whether the Sr/Ca ratios support what was previously suggested about the ecology of these species and iii) evaluate the factors that may have acted to promote coexistence within this diverse community of predominantly browsing herbivores. Results show significant differences in the diets of the sampled species. The highest Sr/Ca ratios were displayed by the suids Parachleuastochoerus kretzoii (fortelius et al., 2005) and Propotamochoerus palaeochoerus (pilgrim, 1926) implying a preference for Sr-rich underground plant parts. Elevated Sr/Ca ratios yielded by the cervid Lucentia aff. pierensis (thomas, 1951) and equid Hippotherium intrans (kretzoi, 1983) are indicative of intermediate feeding. The bovid Miotragocerus sp. (stromer, 1928) showed higher Sr/Ca ratios than the gomphothere Tetralophodon longirostris (kaup, 1832), which is incongruent with morphological and stable isotope data, and suggested browsing by both taxa. This finding is likely the result of a difference in digestive physiology (ruminant vs. monogastric) rather than a difference in dietary behaviour. The lowest Sr/Ca ratios were displayed by the traguild Dorcatherium naui (kaup and scholl, 1834) and moschid Micromeryx flourensianus (lartet, 1851) suggesting a preference for Sr-poor fruits. Resource specialization and partitioning within the local environment likely acted to decrease interspecific competition and promote coexistence within the diverse ungulate community at R. II.
... Investigation of another isotopic ratio, that of strontium to calcium (Sr/Ca), has provided additional information regarding early hominin dietary components (e.g., Sillen, 1992;Sillen et al., 1995;Sponheimer et al., 2005b). As strontium levels have been observed to be generally higher in herbivores than faunivores, Sr/Ca levels have sometimes been used as an indication of the relative degree of herbivory vs. carnivory among different animals. ...
... This study also showed a higher ratio as well as a greater range of Sr/Ca levels among samples in the gracile form (A. africanus) than in the robust form (A./P. robustus) (Sponheimer et al., 2005b). ...
... This relatively high strontium level for both hominin taxa here (higher than carnivores and leaf-eating browsers in the modern Sterkfontein Valley, the latter showing the lowest Sr/Ca ratios) appears to contradict a lower value for Paranthropus found in a earlier study, which was taken to indicate a more omnivorous diet (including significant intake of some sort of animal foods) for this robust form (Sillen, 1992). Sponheimer et al. (2005b) reject insectivory as a likely cause of the relatively high Sr/Ca ratios in these australopithecine taxa, for while insectivores also have high Sr/Ca, another ratio, Ba/Ca, is high in insectivores but very low in the australopithecines here. The combination of high Sr/Ca and low Ba/Ca are noted to have been found in mole rats and warthogs, so that consumption of roots and rhizomes, an important component of the diet of these animals, is suggested as a possible cause of the isotope patterns observed (Sponheimer et al., 2005b). ...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter will present an overview of the Oldowan Industrial Complex (hereafter referred to as the Oldowan), discussing its definition, its chronological and geographic context, the nature of the Oldowan archaeological record, contemporaneous hominins, key issues, and recent trends in research over the past few decades. This introduction will provide a context and foundation for the subsequent chapters which present case studies into aspects of the Oldowan. We also hope that this chapter will serve as a reference for scholars interested in the Early Stone Age of Africa.
... Fertilisation with seaweed led to elevated Sr concentrations and Sr/ Ca ratios in the fertilised crops (grain and husk). Since the extent to which Sr may substitute for Ca in skeletal bioapatite is affected (at least in part) by dietary Sr concentrations (Bentley, 2006;Sponheimer et al., 2005), these results support suggestions that the elevated Sr concentrations found in some archaeological skeletal material from coastal areas may be due to seaweed fertilisation Montgomery et al., 2007Montgomery et al., , 2003Montgomery and Evans, 2006). ...
... Evans et al., 2012). The elevated Sr/Ca ratios in grain and husks suggest that the Sr/Ca ratio in skeletal material, which has been used as a biochemical indicator of past diet (Peek and Clementz, 2012;Sponheimer et al., 2005;Sponheimer and Lee-Thorp, 2006), is likely also affected by the consumption of seaweed-fertilised crops. Similarly, seaweed-fertilisation of terrestrial crops may complicate attempts to utilise trace element concentrations in tooth enamel to identify seaweed consumption. ...
Article
Fertilisation with animal manure has been shown to affect crop chemical and isotopic composition, indicating that if manuring effects are not taken into account, there is a risk of overestimating consumer trophic levels in palaeodietary studies. The effect of fertilisation with seaweed, a common fertiliser in the past in coastal areas, has been the subject of several hypotheses, but until now has not been studied in this particular context. In this study the impact of fertilising bere, an ancient type of Scottish barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), with 25 t/ha and 50 t/ha seaweed, in comparison to a modern commercial mineral fertiliser and to no fertilisation, was investigated in a field trial on the Orkney Islands, Scotland. Stable isotope ratios (δ ¹³ C and δ ¹⁵ N) and elemental concentrations (B, Mg, K, Ca, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Sr, Mo, Cd and Pb) of grain, husk and straw samples were determined. Significant differences were found between treatment groups, including increases in δ ¹⁵ N values of 0.6 ± 0.5‰ (average ± 1σ for five replicate plots) in grain, and 1.1 ± 0.4‰ in straw due to seaweed fertilisation. Elevated concentrations of Sr in grain and husk samples (factors of 1.2–1.4) indicate the geographic tracer ⁸⁷ Sr/ ⁸⁶ Sr may also be affected. Fertilisation with seaweed thus needs to be considered for archaeological interpretations of chemical and isotopic compositions of crop and skeletal material for accurate palaeodietary and provenance reconstructions, particularly in coastal areas. Further implications of these results for studies concerning the effects of sea spray, radiocarbon-dating, and for dietary reconstructions using trace elements are also identified.
... Moreover, people lived mainly in warm regions, where different kinds of insects were available throughout the year. Insects were often a welcome source of protein in the absence of meat from vertebrates [2]. ...
... Analysis of stable carbon isotopes showed that Australopithecus bones and enamel were significantly enriched in the isotope 13 C. This suggests that the diet of these people was mostly animals feeding on grasses, including insects [2]. Another evidence is from paintings in the Artamila caves in northern Spain (9000-3000 BC.) [3]. ...
Article
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Insects are for many nations and ethnic groups an indispensable part of the diet. From a nutritional point of view, insects have significant protein content. It varies from 20 to 76% of dry matter depending on the type and development stage of the insect. Fat content variability is large (2–50% of dry matter) and depends on many factors. Total polyunsaturated fatty acids content may be up to 70% of total fatty acids. Carbohydrates are represented mainly by chitin, whose content ranges between 2.7mg to 49.8mg per kg of fresh matter. Some species of edible insects contain a reasonable amount of minerals (K, Na, Ca, Cu, Fe, Zn, Mn and P) as well as vitamins such as B group vitamins, vitamins A D, E, K, and C. However their content is seasonal and dependent on the feed. From the hygienic point of view it should be pointed out that some insects may produce or contain toxic bioactive compounds. They may also contain residues of pesticides and heavy metals from the ecosystem. Adverse human allergic reactions to edible insects could be also a possible hazard.
... Lower Sr/Ca episodes suggest the consumption of more meat-based diet, whereas elevated ratios could be linked to additional plant-based resources and/or underground storage organs, which can be found all year round 86 possessing higher Sr/Ca ratios 87,88 . ...
... The ICPMS (Element XR) detected the following isotopes from the ablated sample material (m/z): 25 Mg, 27 Al, 43 Ca, 44 Ca, 66 Zn, 86 Sr, 88 Sr, 89 Secondary standards with known concentrations and a matrix broadly similar to apatite (STDPx glasses) were analysed to assess accuracy and precision: STDP3-150, STDP3-1500, STDP5 (Ca-P-(Si) glass standards) 96 , KL2-G (basalt glass) 97 The compositional pro les displaying the concentration of elements relative to distance/days along the EDJ pro le were smoothed with a locally weighted polynomial regression t, with its associated standard error range (±2 SE) for each predicted value 100 . The software R (ver. ...
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During the early Pleistocene, Java was inhabited by a high variety of hominid and hominin taxa with hitherto unclear seasonal dietary demands. We undertook the first geochemical analyses of Pongo sp., Homo erectus and mammalian Pleistocene teeth from Sangiran. We reconstructed past dietary strategies at daily resolution and inferred sub-seasonal ecological patterns. Histologically-controlled spatially-resolved elemental analyses by LA-ICPMS, confirmed the preservation of authentic biogenic signals despite very weak diagenetic overprint. The Sr/Ca record of mammals is in line with expected trophic positions, contextualizing fossil hominid diet. Herbivorous Pongo sp. displays marked seasonal cycles with ~3-month-long strongly elevated Sr/Ca peaks, reflecting highly nutritional plant food during monsoon seasons. Lower Sr/Ca signals suggest different food availability during the dry season. In contrast, omnivorous Homo erectus shows low and less accentuated intra-annual Sr/Ca variability. We infer that Homo erectus maintained its nutritional demands independent of seasonal fluctuations by exploiting the regional diversity of high-quality food resources.
... Calcium (Ca) is one of the most essential nutrients necessary for human health. Over 99 % of total body calcium is found as calcium hydroxyapatite Ca 10 [PO 4 ] 6 [OH] 2 in bones and teeth, for which it provides the necessary structural integrity. Therefore sufficient intake of Ca is essential for maintaining health. ...
... This process is evident in the skeletons of creatures living in High Sierra regions [5]. Thus it is commonly assumed in anthropological studies [6][7][8] that the information on the Sr/Ca ratio can be associated with region, choice of diet, living conditions and socioeconomic status of a group or an individual. Therefore, study of the Sr/Ca ratio has been of great interest to anthropologists for quite a while. ...
Article
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A nuclear analytical technique, namely instrumental photon activation analysis (IPAA), was used to determine Sr and Ca concentrations in human teeth. This work was conducted using the first accelerator facility, an off-shelf clinical linear accelerator (cLINAC), in Turkey. The tooth samples supplied by the Akdeniz University Faculty of Dentistry were analyzed for determination of the Sr/Ca element ratio. The results were obtained to demonstrate the impact of socioeconomic changes on dietary habits. A calibration material (CM; a mixture of calcium and strontium oxides) was required for quantification of the analytical results. The tooth samples, together with the CM, were exposed to 18 MeV end-point energy bremsstrahlung photons from the cLINAC. Thereafter, the γ-ray spectra of the samples and the CM were obtained using high resolution γ spectroscopy. Variations in the Sr/Ca ratio in the teeth of patients fed with beef and fizzy beverages were investigated in this study.
... Investigations of trace elements preserved in the enamel of P. robustus have also revealed interesting patterns 24,94 . P. robustus is characterized by relatively high Sr/Ca ratios, lower than in grazing ungulates and slightly higher than in carnivores, browsing ungulates and omnivorous cercopithecid monkeys. ...
... However, the Sr/Ca and the Ba/Ca ratios of A. africanus and P. robustus are not as extreme as those found in the mole rat and the common warthog, suggesting that the consumption of grass roots was probably not as important as in those two species. As previously highlighted 94 , one must, however, stress that the use of major element concentrations in enamel as an indication of the diet of extant and extinct animals still require further study. One previous study 24 observed Sr/Ca and Ba/Ca ratios for P. robustus that are intermediate between those of A. africanus and early Homo, and similar to those of browsers: these authors argue the diet of P. robustus was dominated by woody plants. ...
Article
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The past two million years of eastern African climate variability is currently poorly constrained, despite interest in understanding its assumed role in early human evolution. Rare palaeoclimate records from northeastern Africa suggest progressively drier conditions or a stable hydroclimate. By contrast, records from Lake Malawi in tropical southeastern Africa reveal a trend of a progressively wetter climate over the past 1.3 million years. The climatic forcings that controlled these past hydrological changes are also a matter of debate. Some studies suggest a dominant local insolation forcing on hydrological changes, whereas others infer a potential influence of sea surface temperature changes in the Indian Ocean. Here we show that the hydroclimate in southeastern Africa (20–25° S) is controlled by interplay between low-latitude insolation forcing (precession and eccentricity) and changes in ice volume at high latitudes. Our results are based on a multiple-proxy reconstruction of hydrological changes in the Limpopo River catchment, combined with a reconstruction of sea surface temperature in the southwestern Indian Ocean for the past 2.14 million years. We find a long-term aridification in the Limpopo catchment between around 1 and 0.6 million years ago, opposite to the hydroclimatic evolution suggested by records from Lake Malawi. Our results, together with evidence of wetting at Lake Malawi, imply that the rainbelt contracted toward the Equator in response to increased ice volume at high latitudes. By reducing the extent of woodland or wetlands in terrestrial ecosystems, the observed changes in the hydroclimate of southeastern Africa—both in terms of its long-term state and marked precessional variability—could have had a role in the evolution of early hominins, particularly in the extinction of Paranthropus robustus.
... Strontium/calcium (Sr/Ca) ratio analysis of bone and teeth has been applied previously to investigate palaeodiets and relative positions of animals within the trophic network (Balter et al., 2002;Peek & Clementz, 2012). This proxy has been mostly applied in terrestrial environments (e.g., Sillen, 1992;Sillen & Lee-Thorp, 1994;Balter, 2004;Sponheimer et al., 2005), whereas similar investigations in marine food webs are lacking. It has been used successfully in modern environments and, even though the impact of bioapatite diagenesis (e.g. ...
... Ferretti et al., 2021) on the preservation of this proxy has not been investigated so far, it yields consistent results in fossil hypermineralized tissues (e.g. Balter et al., 2002;Sponheimer et al., 2005). Wright (1990) demonstrated variations in Sr content within the lamellar tissue: light bands have higher Sr content than dark bands, which underpins visibility of the lamellae in BSE imaging. ...
Article
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Conodonts were the first vertebrates to develop mineralized dental tools, known as elements. Recent research suggests that conodonts were macrophagous predators and/or scavengers but we do not know how this feeding habit emerged in the earliest coniform conodonts, since most studies focus on the derived, ‘complex’ conodonts. Previous modelling of element position and mechanical properties indicate they were capable of food processing. A direct test would be provided through evidence of in vivo element crown tissue damage or through in vivo incorporated chemical proxies for a shift in their trophic position during ontogeny. Here we focus on coniform elements from two conodont taxa, the phylogenetically primitive Proconodontus muelleri Miller, 1969 from the late Cambrian and the more derived Panderodus equicostatus Rhodes, 1954 from the Silurian. Proposing that this extremely small sample is, however, representative for these taxa, we aim to describe in detail the growth of an element from each of these taxa in order to the test the following hypotheses: (1) Panderodus and Proconodontus processed hard food, which led to damage of their elements consistent with prey capture function; and (2) both genera shifted towards higher trophic levels during ontogeny. We employed backscatter electron (BSE) imaging, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) and synchrotron radiation X-ray tomographic microscopy (SRXTM) to identify growth increments, wear and damage surfaces, and the Sr/Ca ratio in bioapatite as a proxy for the trophic position. Using these data, we can identify whether they exhibit determinate or indeterminate growth and whether both species followed linear or allometric growth dynamics. Growth increments (27 in Pa. equicostatus and 58 in Pr. muelleri ) were formed in bundles of 4–7 increments in Pa. equicostatus and 7–9 in Pr. muelleri . We interpret the bundles as analogous to Retzius periodicity in vertebrate teeth. Based on applied optimal resource allocation models, internal periodicity might explain indeterminate growth in both species. They also allow us to interpret the almost linear growth of both individuals as an indicator that there was no size-dependent increase in mortality in the ecosystems where they lived e.g ., as would be the case in the presence of larger predators. Our findings show that periodic growth was present in early conodonts and preceded tissue repair in response to wear and damage. We found no microwear and the Sr/Ca ratio, and therefore the trophic position, did not change substantially during the lifetimes of either individual. Trophic ecology of coniform conodonts differed from the predatory and/or scavenger lifestyle documented for “complex” conodonts. We propose that conodonts adapted their life histories to top-down controlled ecosystems during the Nekton Revolution.
... Strontium/calcium (Sr/Ca) ratio analysis of bone and teeth has been applied previously to investigate palaeodiets and relative positions of animals within the trophic network (Balter et al., 2002;Peek & Clementz, 2012). This proxy has been mostly applied in terrestrial environments (e.g., Sillen, 1992;Sillen & Lee-Thorp, 1994;Balter, 2004;Sponheimer et al., 2005), whereas similar investigations in marine food webs are lacking. It has been used successfully in modern environments and, even though the impact of bioapatite diagenesis (e.g. ...
... Ferretti et al., 2021) on the preservation of this proxy has not been investigated so far, it yields consistent results in fossil hypermineralized tissues (e.g. Balter et al., 2002;Sponheimer et al., 2005). Wright (1990) demonstrated variations in Sr content within the lamellar tissue: light bands have higher Sr content than dark bands, which underpins visibility of the lamellae in BSE imaging. ...
... Research studies have documented that some edible insects have nutritional value that is comparable with that of meat and fish (Braide et al., 2010); and are often a welcome source of protein in the absence of meat from vertebrates (Sponheimer et al., 2005). Edible insects are important dietary components in many cultures where they contribute significantly to protein, fats, and micronutrient intake of consumers (Akinnawo and Ketiku, 2000;Anvo et al., 2016); and are not used as emergency food to ward off starvation, but included as normal part of the diet whenever available (Adeoye et al., 2014). ...
Article
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Insects account for the greatest amount of biodiversity in forests with over 1,400 species reportedly eaten as human food, but are the least studied of all fauna. Studies have shown that they may contribute significantly to livelihoods in both rural and urban areas. This study was carried out to assess the consumer acceptability and nutrient content of Cirina forda larva-enriched vegetable soups. Dry C. forda (CF) larva was purchased from a market in Burkina Faso and refrigerated at -4°C. Four vegetable soup samples (plain vegetable soup; Egusi soup; Vegetable soup+CF; and Egusi soup+CF) were prepared traditionally. Dry CF larva and the four vegetable samples were analysed using standard AOAC methods, while acceptability of the soup samples was carried out using 9-point Hedonic scale. Moisture content of CF was 3.98 g while that of soups ranged from 59.78 to 77.14 g /100 g. C. forda larva contained 54.38 g protein and 16.81 g fat which were rich in essential amino acids and unsaturated fatty acids respectively; and high in macro-minerals. Nutrient content of vegetable soups enriched with CF larva were significantly higher (p<0.05), and more acceptable than un-enriched ones; with Egusi soup+CF larva being the most acceptable. C. forda larva is rich in both macro and micronutrients and generally acceptable to consumers. C. forda larva consumption should be popularized as means of improving dietary diversity, nutrient intake and overall health of humans. Key words: Cirina forda larva, edible insects, enriched vegetable soups, consumer acceptability, nutrient content.
... V rastlinách je koncentrácia Sr najvyššia, pretože rastliny absorbujú Sr priamo z prostredia, cicavce ho získavajú z druhotného zdroja -z rastlinnej alebo živočíšnej potravy. Bylinožravce disponujú väčším množstvom Sr ako všežravce, vrátane človeka, a mäsožravce (Sandford, 1992;Sponheimer et al., 2005;Szostek et al., 2003;Szostek & Glab, 2001). Podľa Lamberta et al. (1984) hodnoty Sr klesajú v poradí herbivora (400-500 ppm) -omnivora (150-400 ppm) -carnivora (100-300 ppm). ...
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eská antropologie 65/1, Olomouc, 2015 Původní práce 5 PŮVODNÍ PRÁCE POTRAVNÉ ZVYKLOSTI U STREDO-VEKEJ POPULÁCIE Z BOROVIEC (OKRES PIEŠŤANY, SLOVENSKO) REKONŠTRUOVANÉ NA ZÁKLADE STOPOVÝCH PRVKOV V ZUBNÝCH TKANIVÁCH Dietary habits in medieval population of Borovce (Piešťany district, Slovakia) reconstructed on the basis of trace elements in dental tissues 2 Ústav matematiky a statistiky, Přírodovědecká fakulta, Masarykova univerzita, Brno, Česká republika 3 Ústav laboratórneho výskumu geomateriálov, Abstract The aim of the study was to determine the dietary habits of the historical human population using trace elements in dental tissues. Cemetery is dated to the period from the end of 8 th century AD until the mid of 12 th century AD and it is interesting with the occurrence of niche graves. Although 466 indivi­ duals had been buried in the cemetery, preservation of the teeth did not allow analysis of all of them. 35 permanent teeth from 35 individuals were analyzed. All analyzed teeth were intact, with fully developed roots, without dental calculus and abrasion. Concentrations of strontium (Sr), zinc (Zn), and calcium (Ca), and their ratios, were used to determine the relative proportions of plant and animal proteins in the diet. Samples were analyzed by ICP OES Jobin Yvon 70 Plus (France) using optical emission spectrometry with inductively coupled plasma. The values of the Sr (162.60 mg/kg) and Zn (128.47 mg/kg) concentrations indicate that a diet of the examined population was of a mixed character. A higher intake of animal proteins was detected in individuals of higher social status. Apparently , within the population there were individuals whose content of trace elements in dental tissue did not reflect the way of fee­ ding or social status, but probably was related to their health.
... It is important to note, however, that trace element alteration can only be established after the original concentrations can be estimated with sufficient certainty. Unfortunately the in vivo concentrations of many of these trace elements vary considerably within species, between species, and per region (Price et al., 1985;Price et al., 1986;Sillen, 1988;Sponheimer et al., 2005). Using elements like Sr, Ba, Pb and Zn as an absolute indicator for diagenesis would require analyzing large sample sets for each species at each site, comprising not only fossil specimens but also modern equivalents. ...
... Other foods important to chimpanzee dry-season diets include honey (Jill D. Pruetz, unpublished manuscript), which is almost always harvested from a tree hollow and frequently from the baobab tree, and the Macrotermes termite (Bogart and Pruetz 2011), which is protected from wildfire by its large termite-mound refugia. While isotopic data suggest predominately C 3 diets for hominins, they also demonstrate that in response to increasing aridity and climatic variability, some lineages probably targeted foods abundant in grassland settings, such as invertebrates, tubers, and the fruits and pods of arid adapted plants (Sponheimer et al. 2005a(Sponheimer et al. , 2005b. Fongoli chimpanzees live in a similarly arid environment and consume many of the same foods. ...
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Savanna chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) at Fongoli, Senegal, appear to be able to predict the “behavior” of wildfires of various intensities. Although most wildfires are avoided, even the most intense fires are met with relative calm and seemingly calculated movement by apes in this arid, hot, and open environment. In addition to reviewing instances of such behavior collected during the course of the Fongoli study, we also report chimpanzees’ use of burned landscapes during the dry season, when more than 75% of these apes’ home range may be burned annually. In burned areas, chimpanzees spent more time foraging and traveling than in unburned areas. Chimpanzees’ behavior in a fire context can help inform paleoanthropological hypotheses regarding early members of our own lineage and can provide insight into the ability of early hominins to conceptualize the behavior of fire and thus set the stage for our lineage’s use of fire.
... Before being analysed for trace elemental content, bones are often exposed to pre-treatments involving various reagents, such as washing with HNO 3 , H 2 O 2 , acetone or formic acid (Degryse et al., 2004;Lösch et al., 2014;Shafer et al., 2008;Stipisic et al., 2014) although in some cases no pre-treatment is applied (Arnay-de-la- Rosa et al., 2009;Mays, 2003;Rasmussen et al., 2013;Skytte and Rasmussen, 2013). For skeletons buried in arid environments, a treatment with dilute acetic acid removes the secondary carbonates Sponheimer et al., 2005) that commonly precipitate in the porosity of the archaeological bones and teeth (Pate et al., 1989;Piepenbrink and Schutkowski, 1987) and may bias their biological composition. Acetic acid is also routinely used for pre-treating bones and teeth before strontium isotope analysis (Alt et al., 2014;Scheeres et al., 2013). ...
Article
Bone geochemistry of pre-Dogon (11th–16th cent. AD) and Dogon (17th–20th cent. AD) populations buried in two caves of the Bandiagara Cliff (Mali) was examined for the purpose of exploring their diet and mobility. While the Dogon were the subject of extensive ethnographic studies, the lifestyle of the pre-Dogon, so-called “Tellem” is not known. We therefore compared the geochemical composition of Dogon bones with the results obtained from modern dietary surveys in Mali, to establish the parameters of a dietary model that was further applied to the pre-Dogon in order to expand our knowledge concerning their way of life. The exceptional preservation of the bones of both populations was confirmed not only at the macroscopic scale, but also at the mineralogical, histological and geochemical levels, which resemble those of fresh bones, and therefore offered ideal conditions for testing this approach. The application of the Bayesian mixing model FRUITS, based on bone δ¹³C (apatite and collagen) and bone δ¹⁵N values, suggested a dietary continuity through time, from the 11th century to today. Bone barium (Ba) content revealed very restricted mobility within the Cliff while bone δ¹⁸O values indicated that Pre-Dogon and Dogon most likely occupied the Bandiagara Plateau and the Cliff, respectively.
... Entomophagy (the use of insects as food) dates back to the early development of humans [10]. ...
Article
The expected future demand for food and animal-derived protein will require environment-friendly novel food sources with high nutritional value. Insects may be one of such novel food sources. However, there needs to be an assessment of the risks associated with their consumption, including allergic risks. Therefore, we performed a systematic review aiming to analyse current data available regarding the allergic risks of consuming insects. We reviewed all reported cases of food allergy to insects, and studied the possibility of cross-reactivity and co-sensitisation between edible insects, crustaceans and house dust mites. We analysed a total of 25 articles - eight assessing the cross-reactivity/co-sensitisation between edible insects, crustaceans and house dust mite; three characterizing allergens in edible insects and 14 case reports, describing case series or prevalence studies of food allergy caused by insects. Cross-reactivity/co-sensitisation between edible insects and crustaceans seems to be clinically relevant, while it is still unknown if co-sensitisation between house dust mites and edible insects can lead to a food allergy. Additionally, more information is also needed about the molecular mechanisms underlying food allergy to insects, although current data suggest that an important role is played by arthropod pan-allergens such as tropomyosin or arginine kinase. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... La frecuencia de esta patología en humanos procedentes de sitios Goya-Malabrigo es semejante a aquellas propias de sociedades de cazadores-recolectores (CORNERO; PUCHE, 2000;KOZAMEH;BARBOSA, 1996;L'HEUREUX, 2000;GASCUE et al., 2016). También se conocen valores de Sr/Ca para algunos individuos, que constituye un indicador general del nivel trófico (SPONHEIMER et al., 2005). Si bien los resultados no pueden interpretarse linealmente, y existe un solo dato de la cadena trófica local que corresponde a un zorro, los valores obtenidos en humanos muestran magnitudes consistentes con dietas altas en proteínas (CERUTI; GONZÁLEZ, 2007;CORNERO;PUCHE, 1995). ...
Article
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La unidad arqueológica Goya-Malabrigo agrupa poblaciones precoloniales de cazadores-recolectores complejos, adaptados al sistema pulsátil de la cuenca del río Paraná, insertos dentro de un proceso de intensificación en la explotación del ambiente basado en los peces y los mamíferos terrestres, con una ingesta secundaria de alimentos vegetales. Desarrollaron conductas densodependientes entre las que se incluyen la redundancia ocupacional, conductas territoriales con defensa activa de los espacios productivos, almacenamiento, generación de áreas formales de inhumación, la elevación de algunas bases residenciales y la generación de un equipo complejo de recipientes cerámicos destinados al procesamiento y almacenamiento de una fracción de los recursos. No existen por el momento dentro del registro, evidencias que permitan sostener la existencia de desigualdad institucionalizada. Las características observadas señalan notables similitudes con las otras unidades arqueológicas del área, con las cuales comparte un proceso evolutivo conjunto desarrollado a partir del III milenio AP como mínimo, dentro un probable esquema monofilético, local, y anterior al proceso de expansión de los grupos arawak al sur de la cuenca del Amazonas. No existen evidencias de la influencia de estos últimos en el origen de Goya-Malabrigo.
... Edible insects have been used by humans since time immemorial and have been one of the most available food ingredients of animal origin (Sponheimer et al. 2005;Lesnik 2014). Currently, edible insects are consumed by more than one-third of the world's population (more than 2 billion people) (van Huis et al. 2013). ...
Article
The presented work brings a comprehensive study of edible insect farming with an impact on the environment and human health. The review focuses not only on commonly monitored parameters such as carbon footprint or feed conversion but also on waste management. It also highlights the positive and negative aspects of eating edible insect regarding human health. Compared to other livestock, the rearing of edible insect brings less environmental burden and higher environmental protection. This review aimed to summarise current knowledge and broaden the complex view of the issue.
... The provenancing of bioapatites, such as teeth and bone, is an important archaeological research method with significant implications for understanding mobility and hunting behaviour. Strontium and oxygen isotope analysis are increasingly used as a tool in archaeology to better understand mobility, settlement patterns, environment, diet and climate (Ayliffe and Chivas, 1990;Budd et al.., 2003;Makarewicz and Sealy, 2015;Pate, 1997Pate, , 1998aPate, , 1998bPate, , 2000Pate, , 2006Lee-Thorpe and Sponheimer, 2015;Sponheimer et al., 2005). Isotopic applications are now well established in Australian archaeology (Adams, 2019;Guiry et al., 2014;Owen and Casey, 2017;Pate, 1997Pate, , 1998Pate, , 2000Pate, , 2017Pate, , 2020Pate and Anson, 2012;Pate and Owen, 2014;Roberts, 2016;Guiry et al., 2015;Pate, 2006;Pate et al., 2011). ...
Article
Strontium and oxygen isotopes provide a useful method for provenancing bioapaties, such as teeth and bone. In order for this approach to be successful, regional baseline bioavailable isotope data are required; however, few databases are currently available in Australia. This study measured stable oxygen and bioavailable strontium isotope ratios from low mobility fauna sampled from the major geological and physiographic provinces in Adelaide, South Australia in order to create a database for this region. Bioavailable strontium isotope ratios (⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr) obtained from the predominantly siliciclastic metasediments of the Neoproterozoic Adelaide Geosyncline have a range of 0.7122 ± 0.0001 to 0.7202 ± 0.0001. Cainozoic samples (dominantly terrestrial fluvial/lacustrine and marine carbonate sediments) from the Adelaide Plains have values in the range of 0.7098 ± 0.0002 to 0.7121 ± 0.0001. Samples from the alluvial fan sediments near the Eden-Burnside Fault at the boundary between these regions have values of 0.7131 ± 0.0001 to 0.7143 ± 0.0001. Stable oxygen isotope results range from − 9.5 to − 4.5‰ δ¹⁸OC (VPDB) and do not appear to vary systematically based on elevation, temperature, rainfall or humidity. These results demonstrate that strontium isotopes are potentially a useful tool for provenance studies within the Adelaide area. Oxygen is probably a more appropriate tool for discriminating seasonality rather than location within the study region. This research also suggests that rats are better suited for mapping strontium isoscapes than koalas, and that, while (non-systematic) offsets appear to exist between laser ablation multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-MC-ICPMS) and thermal ionisation mass spectrometry (TIMS) data, this effect is considerably less than the variation between geological provenances in the region.
... L'inégalité des modifications chimiques de l'émail et de la dentine des incisives et des molaires apparait clairement quand on compare les rapports de certains éléments mineurs et des deux majeurs, P et Ca ( Figure 6). Ces rapports sont généralement utilisés pour reconstituer les régimes alimentaires et les migrations à partir des dents et des os [20][21][22][23], mais dès cette phase de la fossilisation, ils sont modifiés. ...
Chapter
Comment les vestiges matériels du passé se sont-ils constitués et conservés au cours du temps, durant des centaines, des milliers, ou des millions d’années? C’est dans cette perspective que se placent les études en taphonomie, largement pluri- et inter-disciplinaires, intégrant de multiples approches scientifiques relevant des sciences de la Terre, de la vie, et des sciences humaines et sociales.
... Analysis of stable carbon isotopes showed that Australopithecus bones and enamel were significantly enriched in the isotope 13 C. This suggests that the diet of these humanoids was mostly animals feeding on grasses such as insects (Sponheimer et al., 2005). The consumption of underground resources including insects are among the possible explanations for the highly elevated Sr/Ca in Australopithecus. ...
Chapter
Increasing population growth is estimated to reach at least 9 billion by 2050 will result in additional demand for food globally. Conventional animal protein sources including beef, pork, and chicken meat may be insufficient to meet this need, subsequently opening a door to alternative sources. Edible insects show great potential as an environmentally friendly choice for future food systems. There are several beneficial aspects of utilizing insects as a sustainable food source including their high nutritional content. Besides fats and proteins, insects are also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. Insects have greater food conversion efficiency and produce lower greenhouse gas emissions (GHGEs), while requiring less water and land compared with their vertebrate counterparts in traditional animal husbandry. The consumption of insects therefore contributes positively to the environment, food and nutritional security, and a healthy life for present and future generations.
... Entomophagy (the use of insects as food) dates back to the early development of humans [10]. Currently, it is practiced in 113 countries (mainly in Africa, Asia and Latin America) and over 2000 species are consumed, with representatives of all groups being eaten [11]. ...
... v rastlinách je koncentrácia Sr najvyššia, pretože rastliny absorbujú Sr priamo z prostredia, kým cicavce ho získavajú z druhotného zdroja (rastlinnej alebo živočíšnej potravy). Bylinožravce disponujú väčším množstvom Sr ako mäsožravce a u všežravcov sa predpokladajú prostredné hodnoty (Sandford, 1992;Szostek & Glab, 2001;Szostek et al., 2003;Sponheimer et al., 2005). Podľa Lamberta et al. (1984) hodnoty Sr klesajú v poradí herbivora (400-500 ppm), omnivora (150-400 ppm) a carnivora (100-300 ppm). ...
... In the Cradle of Humankind, baboons and early hominins would have shared the same mosaic of habitats and, to some extent, the same ecological niche: for instance, diet reconstructions for australopithecines and paranthropines indicate some degree of overlap with the diet of modern baboons (e.g. Sponheimer et al. 2005). Although past behaviours do not preserve, data from the fossil record suggests that early hominins were gregarious and had a level of social organisation not unlike that of modern baboons, which are highly social and live in multilevel societies (e.g. ...
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Primate taphonomy in cave deposits is complex, and the taphonomic signatures of different accumulation scenarios present some degree of equifinality, rendering their identification in the fossil record challenging. Here, we describe an assemblage of 30 modern chacma baboons, including nine partially mummified individuals, which died inside a cave chamber at Misgrot, South Africa. The mortality profile is attritional, favouring immature and older individuals. We describe skeletal part representation, body postures for the most complete mummies and preserved articulations. Bone surface modifications suggest limited impact by biotic agents besides small rodents and invertebrates. Several specimens were affected by heat-induced damage, most likely resulting from natural combustion of bat guano, abundant on the cave floor. Misgrot has a similar geology and similar dimensions to some Plio-Pleistocene primate-bearing cave deposits from the UNESCO World Heritage Cradle of Humankind area. Implications of the taphonomic features of the Misgrot baboon remains are discussed in the context of some of these fossil assemblages, including the recently discovered Homo naledi assemblages.
... Anthropo-entomophagy, the consumption of insects as food by humans, is no novel phenomenon, because obviously it has been practiced since the very early development of human beings (Sponheimer et al. 2005). Humans initially had an insectivorous diet, and only with subsequent evolution came fruits, vegetables and meat, when humans began hunting and eating other mammals (reviewed in Ramos-Elorduy 2009). ...
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While seeking novel food sources to feed the increasing population of the globe, several alternatives have been discussed, including algae, fungi or in vitro meat. The increasingly propagated usage of farmed insects for human nutrition raises issues regarding food safety, consumer information and animal protection. In line with law, insects like any other animals must not be reared or manipulated in a way that inflicts unnecessary pain, distress or harm on them. Currently, there is a great need for research in the area of insect welfare, especially regarding species-specific needs, health, farming systems and humane methods of killing. Recent results from neurophysiological, neuroanatomical and behavioral sciences prompt caution when denying consciousness and therefore the likelihood of presence of pain and suffering or something closely related to it to insects. It also needs to be determined what the costs of implementing welfare standards would be, and whether we are willing to pay the price. From an animal protection point of view, these issues should be satisfyingly solved before propagating and establishing intensive husbandry systems for insects as a new type of mini-livestock factory farming.
... Carbon isotope studies on dental enamel provide useful information on the type of plants eaten by early hominins or their preys (Sponheimer and Lee-Thorp 1999;Sponheimer et al. 2006;Ungar and Sponheimer 2011) but fail documenting their trophic level. Some laser ablation trace element studies carried out on dental enamel have provided information for older specimens (Sponheimer et al. 2005;Balter and Simon 2006;Balter et al. 2012) but only allow assessment to the nearest trophic level and are highly dependent on the geology. ...
Article
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As a consequence of recent developments in mass spectrometry, the application of non-traditional stable isotope systems (e.g. Ca, Cu, Fe, Mg, Sr, Zn) as well as radiogenic isotopes to archaeological materials is now possible. These techniques have opened new perspectives in bioarchaeology and can provide information on metabolism, diet and the mobility of past individuals. This review demonstrates this potential and describes the principle of these new analytical approaches. In addition, we emphasize how the “non-traditional” stable isotope systems compare and contrast with classic isotopic analyses.
... The δ 13 C values of Homo and Paranthropus point to food intake that consisted dominantly of C 3 resources, such as forest foods, while xeric plant foods [e.g., C 4 underground storage organs (USOs), such as tubers, corms, roots, and bulbs, but also sedges, termites (20,34,35), or C 4 grass leaves (36)] were not dominant. However, δ 13 C data alone may not decipher C 3 and C 4 resources of dietary patterns because plant-based, meat-based, and omnivore diets cannot be distinguished with this method (e.g., ref. 37). ...
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Clumped and stable isotope data of paleosol carbonate and fossil tooth enamel inform about paleoenvironments of Early Pleistocene hominins. Data on woodland- vs. grassland- dominated ecosystems, soil temperatures, aridity, and the diet of Homo rudolfensis and Paranthropus boisei ca. 2.4 Ma show that they were adapted to C3 resources in wooded savanna environments in relatively cool and wet climates in the Malawi Rift. In contrast, time-equivalent Paranthropus living in open and drier settings in the northern East African Rift relied on C4 plants, a trend that became enhanced after 2 Ma, while south- ern African Paranthropus persistently relied mainly on C3 re- sources. In its early evolutionary history, Homo already showed a high versatility, suggesting that Pleistocene Homo and Paranthropus were already dietary generalists.
... It has been hypothesized that plant underground storage organs (USOs) were key dietary resources for African Pliocene and Pleistocene hominins who lived in dry and/or open environments [1][2][3]. Data on hominin craniodental anatomy [4][5][6][7], dental microwear [8][9][10][11], enamel chemistry [10,[12][13][14][15][16], and archaeology [17] are consistent with this hypothesis, a1111111111 a1111111111 a1111111111 a1111111111 a1111111111 ...
Article
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It is hypothesized that tool-assisted excavation of plant underground storage organs (USOs) played an adaptive role in hominin evolution and was also once considered a uniquely human behavior. Recent data indicate that savanna chimpanzees also use tools to excavate edible USOs. However, those chimpanzees remain largely unhabituated and we lack direct observations of this behavior in the wild. To fill this gap in our knowledge of hominoid USO extractive foraging, we conducted tool-mediated excavation experiments with captive chimpanzees naïve to this behavior. We presented the chimpanzees with the opportunity to use tools in order to excavate artificially-placed underground foods in their naturally forested outdoor enclosure. No guidance or demonstration was given to the chimpanzees at any time. The chimpanzees used tools spontaneously in order to excavate the underground foods. They exhibited six different tool use behaviors in the context of excavation: probe, perforate, dig, pound, enlarge and shovel. However, they still excavated manually more often than they did with tools. Chimpanzees were selective in their choice of tools that we provided, preferring longer tools for excavation. They also obtained their own tools mainly from naturally occurring vegetation and transported them to the excavation site. They reused some tools throughout the study. Our new data provide a direction for the study of variables relevant to modeling USO extractive foraging by early hominins.
... Humphrey et al., 2008;Müller et al., 2019). Furthermore, the preservation of original trace element concentrations in bioapatites over archaeological or palaeontological timescales is subject to debate (Sillen, 1981;Sponheimer et al., 2005;Sponheimer and Lee-Thorp, 2006;Kohn, 2008). While pretreatment techniques have been proposed to leach out elements that were incorporated post mortem, several studies show that the effects of diagenesis cannot be fully removed, even in enamel (Sillen, 1981;Hoppe et al., 2003;Lee-Thorp and Sponheimer, 2003). ...
Article
High resolution in situ trace element μXRF maps and profiles were measured on the enamel exposed in cross sections through archaeological human permanent molars from seven Late Neolithic/Early Chalcolithic funerary caves and megalithic graves of north-central Iberia. Changes in concentrations of Fe, Zn and Sr in inward direction into the enamel shed light on diagenetic and endogenous trace element concentrations in archaeological tooth enamel. Most of these profiles resemble sigmoid-shaped leaching profiles, suggesting that a combination of diffusion and advection processes govern the uptake of trace elements into the enamel from pore fluids on the outside of the tooth and in the more porous dentine. The present study shows how diffusion-advection (DA) models can be fitted to these trace element profiles to explain changes in trace element concentrations that happen during diagenesis. DA models explain a major part of the variation observed in leaching profiles into the enamel and can be used to reconstruct endogenous trace element concentrations, leaching times and leaching depth as well as trace element concentrations in ambient pore water during diagenesis. Models of trace element leaching together with trace element mapping reveal that Fe, Zn and Sr concentrations consistently increase during diagenesis, regardless of the type of burial site (i.e. funerary caves vs. megalithic graves). Profiles of Pb concentrations show much smaller concentration gradients, causing DA model fitting to be less accurate. Modelled leaching depths of 300–400 μm warrant a careful approach when sampling for endogenous archaeological tooth enamel for trace element and stable isotope analysis. Results also show that it is possible to reconstruct endogenous trace element concentrations from these samples, even without applying pretreatment procedures, because leaching of trace elements into the enamel often remains limited to the outer 300–400 μm of the enamel on archaeological timescales. Modelled leaching times are about ten times lower than the age of the samples, suggesting that the rate of trace element leaching into tooth enamel slows down or even halts during the burial period.
... Normalizing data to Ca should, however, provide the most accurate bone P, Na, Mg, Sr, Ba and Zn content. Indeed, more variability within the different CRMs was observed when using Mg or P as ISTD, especially regarding Sr concentrations, which is the one of the key elements for dietary reconstructions (Sillen and Kavanagh, 1982;Sponheimer et al., 2005). However, Ca, Mg and P used as ISTDs provided similar trends in concentrations for the experimental samples. ...
Article
LA-ICP-MS is a powerful technique requiring minimal sample preparation and providing high spatial resolution which may offer the possibility of analysing trace elements in targeted pristine areas of archaeological bone sections. This would provide invaluable information about an individual's life if combined with the geochemical composition of the teeth from the same individual. However, there is no consensus regarding the calibration to be used for LA-ICP-MS analysis of bone, which is a highly complex organo-mineral tissue. In this study, we tested different calibration approaches (NIST and USGS glass series, synthetic phosphate glass and synthetic phosphate pellet from USGS) on a modern bone. The best method was applied to three Precolumbian skeletons (Lerma Valley, Mexico). These individuals show different degrees of preservation (crystallinity, calcite, F and organic matter content) which have been previously explored at the intra-skeletal level. A bone sample with exceptional preservation from the Dogon Country (Mali) was analysed for comparison. Based on BSE SEM images and element distribution of the bone sections obtained via LA-ICP-MS mapping, quantification of Ca, P, Li, Zn, V, U, Na, Mg, Sr and Ba was performed using LA-ICP-MS spot analysis on areas displaying varying concentration profiles and histological preservation. Although avoiding sampling at the external margin of the bone sections may minimize diagenetic Li, Zn, V, U, Sr and Ba, it was not possible to discriminate biological from diagenetic Sr adsorbed onto the bone crystallites of the best preserved Precolumbian skeleton, whose low crystallinity favored adsorption efficiency. In contrast, the well preserved Dogon sample, as well as the most altered Precolumbian skeletons provided Sr and Ba content roughly similar to concentrations obtained using bulk analysis. LA-ICP-MS can therefore not substitute solution analysis for paleodiet prospect, especially for bones in relatively early state of diagenetic transformations.
... The use of insects in human nutrition has been practiced since ancient times, even for millions of years (Sponheimer, de Ruiter, Lee-Thorp, & Spath, 2005). Diets rich in insects in hominids such as Australopithecus are proven by high 13C/12C and Sr/Ca ratios measured in their dental enamel. ...
Article
Background Edible insects are considered as traditional foods in over 100 countries of Asia, Africa, and South America. Apart from this traditional aspect, edible insects are gaining increasing interest as alternative food sources for the increasing world population. Scope and approach The purpose of this research was to give an overview on several aspects of edible insects: nutritional characteristics; physical, chemical, and microbiological hazards; presence of antinutritional substances or allergens; gathering and farming; production technologies and patents; legal status worldwide; socio-economic and ethical implications. Key findings and conclusions Edible insects supply amounts of protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals comparable to those of meat. Although the studies on the environmental sustainability of insect farming are still few, it is generally recognized their limited requirements for land and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases. Nevertheless, not all the species can be bred as a consequence of their specific temperature and light requirements. Insects can be considered as safe from a microbiological point of view but can contain residues of pesticides and heavy metal. Attention must be paid to the cross-reactions among allergens found within some insect species. Edible insects can be consumed as whole insects but, in order to increase their acceptability, they can be processed into an unrecognisable form. Many inventions concerning insect processing have been patented. The European Union has a specific new Regulation on novel foods that established an authorization procedure to sell insect-based foods unless their safe consumption for longer than 25 years in third countries is demonstrated. Farming insects can offer revenue opportunities mainly in developing countries.
... Practiced by humans since ancient times, entomophagy dates before the practice of hunting animals for food (Ramos-Elorduy 2009;Sponheimer et al. 2005), and in current times reflects on the social implications, addressing issues of malnutrition and maintenance of healthy nutrition (Batat and Peter 2020). The ethnic groups of Asia, America, and Australia consume around 1500-2000 species of insects (MacEvilly 2000). ...
Article
Abstract The constant rise in the human population has led to food insecurity and malnourishment issues across the globe. Acceptance and popularization of entomophagy in society can help to meet the increasing demand for food supply. The high nutritive profile of edible insects makes them an excellent supplement in the diet. Consumption of edible insects as food and use in medicine is common among various tribes of the world. However, a major fraction of people is reluctant to accept insects as food. The harvesting of insects when done properly considering all the associated factors, can act as a source of livelihood and the profit margin of insect farming can exceed that of grain. There is a need for proper documentation of the edible species, preparation procedure, and their therapeutic properties along with multidisciplinary research for sustainable development and commercialization. Full text link: https://rdcu.be/b8qLk
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The study of stable isotopes in fossil bioapatite has yielded useful results and has shown that bioapatites are able to faithfully record paleo-environmental and paleo-climatic parameters from archeological to geological timescales. In an effort to establish new proxies for the study of bioapatites, intra-tooth records of enamel carbonate stable isotope ratios from a modern horse are compared with trace element profiles measured using laboratory micro X-Ray Fluorescence scanning. Using known patterns of tooth eruption and the relationship between stable oxygen isotopes and local temperature seasonality, an age model is constructed that links records from six cheek upper right teeth from the second premolar to the third molar. When plotted on this age model, the trace element ratios from horse tooth enamel show a seasonal pattern with a small shift in phase compared to stable oxygen isotope ratios. While stable oxygen and carbon isotopes in tooth enamel are forced respectively by the state of the hydrological cycle and the animal's diet, we argue that the seasonal signal in trace elements reflects seasonal changes in dust intake and diet of the animal. The latter explanation is in agreement with seasonal changes observed in carbon isotopes of the same teeth. This external forcing of trace element composition in mammal tooth enamel implies that trace element ratios may be used as proxies for seasonal changes in paleo-environment and paleo-diet.
Article
Metody zabývajici se rekonstrukci výživy předků clověka se opiraji o fosilni zaznam, nabizejici ekologicke souvislosti. Tento material lze srovnavat s recentnimi organismy a modelovými situacemi. Každa z metod osvětluje cast spektra poznani jak vlastnosti stravy, ktera se nachazela v konkretnim prostředi a byla urcitým způsobem využivana, tak vlastnosti skeletu, jenž je adaptovan na ziskavani specificke stravy. Mnoha omezeni při aplikovani metod na velmi stare a fragmentarni vzorky znesnadňuji interpretaci a vedou k mnohdy obecným zavěrům, ale přesto přinasi cenna data, ktera s postupně se zlepsujicimi technologickými možnostmi rozkrývaji historii nasich davných předků a formovani dnesnich lidi.
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The cave deposits at Malapa have yielded the remains of two extremely well preserved hominins (Australopithecus sediba) and associated fauna, dated to 1.977-1.8 Ma. The state of preservation of the hominins and some of the non-hominin material is remarkable in the context of Plio-Pleistocene fossil assemblages accumulated in caves and indicates a unique combination of taphonomic processes, not yet observed in contemporaneous cave deposits in the region. A comprehensive approach, including palaeontological, physical, and spatial analyses of the hominins and associated fauna was undertaken to determine, describe and interpret the taphonomy of the faunal material, with particular reference to hominins. An innovative combination of Computed-Tomography (CT), micro-CT scanning and virtual reconstruction techniques was applied to create a 3D model of a selected area of the Malapa cave, with renderings of the two near complete Au. sediba skeletons. The original burial position of the hominins was reconstructed. The results indicate that the majority of the faunal material recovered was most likely accumulated via a natural death trap. Their bodies came to rest in a deep area of the cave system with restricted access to scavengers. Results show that both individuals did probably not enter the cave system at the same time. They reached skeletonization and were slightly weathered before final burial, indicating several years of exposure before burial. Insects proved to be the primary modifiers of the hominin remains. Evidence of natural mummification before burial for MH1 and MH2 suggests the possible preservation of soft tissue.
Chapter
Isotope studies on archaeological bone mineral require a validation of the material integrity. Diagenetically altered or contaminated bone mineral should be recognized as such and not be used for conclusions requiring pristine material. X-ray diffraction (XRD) and infrared spectroscopy (IR) are two complementary tools that investigate the state of the bone mineral. While modern XRD analysis is based on a direct comparison of observed data with a rigorous quantitative calculation of the diffractogram, the interpretation of the more easily measurable IR data is still largely empirical. We studied a set of archaeological animal bones sampled from the alpine region covering ages from 7600 to 550 years before present. We discarded visually decomposed bones completely. For the remaining samples, we investigated only the central part of the bone; the inner and outer periosteal surfaces were mechanically removed. For these selected samples, the crystalline lattice parameters in the a–b plane of the bioapatite and the average nanocrystallite size in the same plane show a small decreasing trend with age, which is almost insignificant compared to the observed natural variation in the bone apatite. For the c-direction, both the lattice parameter and the crystallite size are constant within this observed variation. We conclude that in the investigated samples there is—if any—only a very minor diagenetic recrystallisation of the original bone mineral.
Chapter
Isotope studies on archaeological bone mineral require a validation of the investigated sample material. Diagenetic alteration or contaminated bone mineral should be recognized as such and not be used for conclusions requiring pristine material. X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) provide two complementary tools to characterize the state of the bone mineral. While IR measurements are easy and rapid, their interpretation is still largely empirical. Modern XRD analysis is more demanding with respect to experiment and data evaluation, but it is based on rigorous theoretical modelling of the observed data. Our study involved both uncremated animal bone samples from the alpine region covering ages from 7600 to 550 years before present, as well as cremated human bone remains in comparison with experimentally cremated bovine bone. All samples were mechanically cleaned to remove soil, and inner and outer periosteal surfaces were mechanically removed. We avoided visually decomposed bones completely. The mineralogic state of the thus cleaned, uncremated samples showed only minor systematic changes with archaeologic age. The changes are most pronounced for the lattice parameter and crystalline domain size in the short dimension of the original bone-apatite platelets. The long direction corresponding to the crystallographic c-axis of the apatite appears almost unaffected. We conclude that in the investigated samples, there is only a minor diagenetic alteration of the original bone mineral, possibly related to exchange of carbonate by hydroxyl or fluorine.
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Given their ubiquity in dietary reconstruction, it is fitting that the story of isotopes began with a conversation over dinner. Although coined in scientific literature by Frederick Soddy (1913), the word ‘isotope’ was first conceived by Margaret Todd, a medical doctor (also known as the novelist ‘Graham Travers’, and an all-round gender-stereotype-smasher of their age). In 1912, Soddy and Todd were attending a supper in Glasgow. When talk turned to work, Soddy described the then nameless concept of elements of different masses that occupy the same place in the periodic table. Todd suggested the term ‘isotope’, from the Greek isos (‘same’) + topos (‘place’), and the name stuck (Nicol 1957; Nagel 1982).
Chapter
Within most Western societies, insects are considered to be a novel food with rising popularity as an alternative to conventional food sources, due to strong environmental pressures, fast population growth, food insecurity and growing demand for animal-derived food. Although insects are already consumed in several parts of the world, acceptance of edible insects in Western countries is considered very low mainly due to food neophobia and disgust. The main goal of this study was to evaluate the determinants of acceptance of bread incorporating insects. An online survey was conducted on regular consumers of bread which sought to assess their attitudes towards the consumption of edible insects. Results of the survey demonstrated that most participants were unwilling to try bread supplemented with edible insects. Nevertheless, the types of bread with higher acceptance were special-type bread incorporating processed insects. Disgust towards insects was a strong predictor of rejection of insect’s consumption. Through the application of a binary logistic regression model to the responses obtained, the best predictor of acceptance of bread with the incorporation of insects was the willingness to consume insects. Other predictors were gender (males had higher acceptance), consumption of specialty bread and food neophilia.
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In this work, there were analyzed dental remains of a Toxodon sp. (Mammalia, Notoungulata) specimen rescued from the riverbank of the Ypané River in Paraguay. Several techniques were used to analyze the different geological aspects of the samples, thus providing keys to the understanding of fossilization processes and the implications of paleoenvironmental conditions in the apatites present in the dental remains. The identification of the chemical substances present in the sample was made by Raman and FTIR spectroscopy, the chemical composition of the samples was determined using energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence (EDXRF) and XPS, and the mineralogy by (XRD). It is worth mentioning that this work is the first in the area of Paleometry carried out in Paraguay.
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Although recognized as one of the most significant cultural transformations in North America, the reintroduction of the horse to the continent after AD 1492 has been rarely addressed by archaeological science. A key contributing factor behind this limited study is the apparent absence of equine skeletal remains from early historic archaeological contexts. Here, we present a multidisciplinary analysis of a horse skeleton recovered in Lehi, Utah, originally attributed to the Pleistocene. Reanalysis of stratigraphic context and radiocarbon dating indicates a historic age for this horse (cal AD 1681–1939), linking it with Ute or other Indigenous groups, whereas osteological features demonstrate its use for mounted horseback riding—perhaps with a nonframe saddle. DNA analysis indicates that the animal was a female domestic horse, which was likely cared for as part of a breeding herd despite outliving its usefulness in transport. Finally, sequentially sampled stable carbon, oxygen, and strontium isotope values from tooth enamel (δ ¹³ C, δ ¹⁸ O, and ⁸⁷ Sr/ ⁸⁶ Sr) suggest that the horse was raised locally. These results show the utility of archaeological science as applied to horse remains in understanding Indigenous horse pastoralism, whereas consideration of the broader archaeological record suggests a pattern of misidentification of horse bones from early historic contexts.
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(Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für Urgeschichte 28) The ability to control fire is a pivotal trait of human culture and likely influenced both the physical and cultural development of our evolutionary lineage. We know fire fundamentally changed our relationship with the world by making previously uninhabitable climates tolerable, inedible foods palatable and more nutritious, and providing a focal point around which complex social relationships could develop. It remains uncertain, however, when and in what manner fire became an integral part of the technological repertoire of our early ancestors. This gap in our knowledge prevents a full understanding of how fire affected our physical form and cultural lifeways. The long and drawn out process by which fire progressed from simply being a close companion in the natural environment to becoming a resource exploited opportunistically by hominins eventually led to greater control of fire. At this point, fire was largely 'tamed' through careful maintenance and transported from place to place. Ultimately, likely through a combination of serendipity and experimentation, humans discovered that they could make fire for themselves whenever and wherever they liked, providing a profound new freedom to control their environment, cook their food and produce new materials at will. This article provides an overview of the current state of our understanding of fire use, and more specifically, fire-making in the Paleolithic. There is currently much debate in the field surrounding this issue, and it is stressed herein that the only way to definitively infer any one hominin group could make fire is to identify the tools they used to do so. Therefore, much attention is paid to how archaeologists have attempted to identify fire-making tools in the archaeological record, primarily using experimental archaeology coupled with microwear analysis. Through these efforts, it appears stone-on-stone percussive fire-making using flint and pyrite was a skill first practiced by at least some groups of late Neanderthals, though its origins could be much older. Conversely, preservational problems associated with the wood-on-wood friction fire-making make it extremely difficult to assess the antiquity of this method. Lingering questions regarding early fire-making innovations and possible avenues for future research are discussed.
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Tooth enamel from modern and fossil (Lazaret cave) Cervus elaphus was characterized in order to study the chemical and structural changes during fossilization. Ca, P, Na, Mg, F, Cl, CO3 contents were measured by chemical analyses, and infrared spectroscopy (IR) was used to determine H2O, OH-, PO43- and CO32- . Carbonate increases during fossilization and substitutes for PO43- at the B-site and for OH at the A-site. The CO -for-PO substitution experiences the highest increase. H2O and OH contents decrease during fossilization. These chemical changes may be traced by Rietveld structure refinement (XRD). Like human enamel, red deer enamel consists of apatite. A good positive correlation has been found between the a cell parameter and CO32- contents. Refinement of atomic positions and site multiplicity allow us to describe site distortions in PO43- polyhedra and along the 63 axis; these distortions are indirect probes of the substituent ions in the apatite structure. At Lazaret cave, the karstic environment is thought to control the chemical and structural changes of the fossil enamels. Fossilization conditions have been favorable for a good conservation of the Cervus elaphus tooth enamels whatever their stratigraphic position and location were. These fossil enamels have experienced only slight structural and chemical changes considering their geological age. This accounts for a rapid burial in continental sediments of Lazaret prehistoric cave. These Lazaret fossil enamels could be considered as stable material which may be used for dating by the ESR and U-Th methods.
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The Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition in Western Europe is characterized, from an ecological point of view, by large-ungulate communities adapted to cold climatic conditions. The aim of this study is to reconstruct the trophic relationships prevailing in these paleoecosystems which have no equivalent in the modern world. Bone and dentine remains representing five mammalian assemblages dated around 35 ka BP, one of which included a Neandertal specimen, are investigated for Sr/Ca and Ba/Ca of bioapatites. Examination of the N content and U+REE luminescence of bulk material, Ca/P ratios, and Mn and Ca contents of purified samples demonstrates that the Sr/Ca and the Ba/Ca ratios of bone and dentine samples are not significantly altered by diagenesis. As a consequence of the biological discrimination of Sr and Ba in relation to Ca, Sr/Ca and Ba/Ca values are impoverished with increasing trophic position and are strongly correlated within a trophic web. The slopes of the linear regressions between Sr/Ca and Ba/Ca are consistent with modern variability. Furthermore, a statistical difference was found between Ba/Ca of foregut and hindgut herbivores. When coexisting collagen is preserved, the Sr+Ba/Ca and δ15N are strongly correlated. The distribution of values suggests that the δ15N range is mainly controlled by the variability of soil conditions whereas the δ13C range may be related to resource availability.
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Surveys the evidence for australopithecine diets in the light of current knowledge about the diet and dental anatomy of living primates, especially the apes. To provide a backdrop for the functional and adaptive interpretations which form the bulk of the paper, the author reviews the diet and feeding behaviour of the living apes, compares the functional anatomy of the teeth of man and apes, and then considers some analytical approaches to the assessment of dental structure in terms of diet in living species.-J.Sheail
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Chemical and structural changes in bones and dentine from Cervus elaphus jaws during fossilization were studied by chemical analysis, infrared spectroscopy (IR) and X-ray diffraction (XRD). Data were used to discuss the modifications of bones and dentine from the Lazaret prehistoric cave (Nice, France) which is an important archeologic site of Middle Pleistocene age. Fossil bones and dentine mainly consisted of hydroxy-carbonate apatite as the primary phase and of calcite as a secondary phase. Carbonation, fluorination and recrystallization processes are shown as more important in bone and dentine than in tooth enamel. A good correlation was found between the a cell parameter of apatite and its CO3 and fluorine contents in the bones studied. Fluorine enrichment seems to be related to the permeability of the upper sedimentary levels. Lazaret fossil bones and dentine are less stable than enamels and their use for dating has to be taken with caution.
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The dietary habits of the early hominids Australopithecus and Paranthropus have long been debated. Robinson argued that the two species differed in the proportions of meat and vegetables consumed. More recently it has been suggested that Paranthropus, with its presumably larger body size, simply processed greater amounts of the same foods eaten by Australopithecus to maintain 'functional equivalence'. Microscopic dental wear patterns are related to the dietary habits of extant mammals, and quantification of these patterns is useful in distinguishing among primates with different diets. Nevertheless, few attempts have been made to use microwear in the reconstruction of early hominid diets, and only very recently has the quantification of such data been initiated. While microwear fabrics can be reduced to individual elements (for example, scratches and pits), there is some disagreement over exactly how they should be defined and measured. Fourier transforms have been applied successfully in the study of a variety of physical and biological patterns, and recently they have been used to characterize and distinguish different tooth wear patterns more objectively. Here we report the first combined use of image processing and other quantitative techniques to analyse the dental microwear of early hominids. Our results suggest that Paranthropus ate substantially more hard food items than Australopithecus.
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Current consensus holds that the 3-million-year-old hominid Australopithecus africanus subsisted on fruits and leaves, much as the modern chimpanzee does. Stable carbon isotope analysis of A. africanus from Makapansgat Limeworks, South Africa, demonstrates that this early hominid ate not only fruits and leaves but also large quantities of carbon-13-enriched foods such as grasses and sedges or animals that ate these plants, or both. The results suggest that early hominids regularly exploited relatively open environments such as woodlands or grasslands for food. They may also suggest that hominids consumed high-quality animal foods before the development of stone tools and the origin of the genus Homo.
Conference Paper
Analyses of the strontium isotope ratio (Sr-86/Sr-87) of vertebrate fossils can provide information about palaeobiological attributes such as habitat use and movement patterns. Diagenetic contaminants can alter the Sr-87/Sr-86 ratio of fossils, however, complicating palaeobiological interpretations. Several pretreatment protocols have been developed to separate diagenetic contaminants from biogenic Sr. While the methods can remove some diagenetic Sr, it has not been shown that any technique removes all contamination. The extent to which pretreatment removes diagenetic Sr can be quantified through analysis of the (87)/Sr/Sr-86 ratios of fossil marine mammal bones and teeth buried in sediments with non-marine diagenetic Sr-87/Sr-86 signatures. To do this, we examined Holocene seals recovered from archaeological sites in Greenland and California, as well as a Miocene whale from Maryland. Our results demonstrate that although pretreatment eliminated some contaminants from bone, a large percentage (up to 80%) of diagenetic Sr remained after treatment. In contrast, pretreatment does appear to remove nearly all (greater than or equal to similar to 95%) diagenetic Sr from tooth enamel.
Chapter
In contrast to the numerous publications on uptake of radioactive strontium (85Sr, 89Sr, and 90Sr) and its effects on plant growth resulting from irradiation by strontium or its radioactive daughter nuclides (e.g., Y-90), only a few articles exist on the uptake of stable Sr2+ and its possible effects on plant growth. Nevertheless there are two reasons why uptake of stable Sr2+ and its effects on plant growth are of great importance. First, from the viewpoint of plant physiology and plant nutrition it is interesting to know both the uptake and the effects of stable Sr2+ in relationship to the chemically related Ca2+. Similar study has already been carried out with other corresponding groups of ions (Li+ and Ca2+, Rb+ and K+, Br- and Cl-, or SO 42- and SeO 42-, PO 43- and ArO 43-). With respect to the uptake and translocation of stable Sr2+ by the plant (but not with regard to its effects on plant growth), studies with radioactive strontium isotopes are very helpful. Second, from the ecological viewpoint, it is worthwhile to obtain information on regional and species differences in plant uptake and effects of stable Sr2+ on growth.
Article
Stable-isotopic analyses of human bone, now an established aid to dietary reconstruction in archaeology, represent the diet as averaged over many years. Separate analysis of different skeletal components enables changes in diet and place of residence to be tracked, giving a fuller life-history for long-dead individuals.
Article
Fifteen-day balance trials were done with 14 healthy infants of about 34 ; days of age for Sr⁹°, stable strontium, calcium, and phosphorus. Average ; retentions were: 28% Sr⁹°; -71% Sr. 31% Ca; 30% P. The loss of stable ; strontium from the body as compared to the retention of the other substances most ; probably is accounted for by the decreased intake of stable strontium that ; occurred at the start of the observational feeding period. Dietary Sr⁹° ; and calcium were added to the bodies of the infants in a ratio that was about 0.9 ; of the Sr⁹° to calcium ratio existing in the diet. This corresponds ; approximately to an OR/sub body/diet/ of 0.9 which contrasts with the accepted ; value of 0.25 for adults and indicates a lesser capability of the very young to ; discriminate against strontium in favor of calcium. (auth);
Article
A method for the determination of strontium and barium in plants and soil extracts is described, using the technique of activation analysis. The method was applied to determine the available alkaline earth contents of nine English soils, including two rich in strontium, and of the plants growing on them. The effect of the pH of the soil extractant on the availability of these elements was investigated and found to vary widely with the soil type. It was found that strontium was preferentially absorbed with respect to calcium from most of the soils by plants, while barium was taken up much less readily. Native plants may contain concentrations of strontium of up to 2.6% dry weight when growing on strontium rich soils; possible strontium indicator and accumulator plants are discussed.
Article
Des specialistes en paleontologie humaine ont recemment obtenu des resultats selon lesquels la presence de rapports strontium/calcium (Sr/Ca) dans les ossements d'hominides du Pleistocene ancien, provenant de Swartkrans (Afrique du Sud), refleterait des differences de regime alimentaire entre l'Homo habilis et l'Australopithecus (Paranthropus) robustus. L'auteur s'interroge sur les possibilites d'une telle analyse appliquee a la recherches de differences de regime alimentaire, ou de differences physiologiques, chez les mâles et femelles des memes especes
Article
Short-term uptake tests (48 hr) disclosed that increasing levels of Ca in solution cultures decreased both Sr and Ba uptake by bush beans and decreased the proportions of them remaining in roots compared with that transported to leaves. Barium uptake was greater than Sr, and the concentration of both of these elements was highest in roots and lowest in leaves. Calcium accumulation was highest in stems and lowest in leaves. Uptake of Sr and Ba by roots showed little temperature dependency, but long-distance transport to shoots was temperature dependent as is known for Ca. Strontium and Ca and also Ba to a lesser extent served as stable-element carriers for transport of Sr⁸⁵ isotope into bush beans, but Mg did not. A level of 10⁻²M Ba in nutrient solution was toxic to the plants; that which was transferred to shoots killed the leaves. Its effect on permeability resulted in large transfer of Sr⁸⁵ to shoots. Long-term uptake tests (90 days) with tobacco grown in solution culture disclosed that Ca accumulated more in leaves while Sr and Ba accumulated more in roots. Two desert-plant species, Lycium andersonii and Lycium pallidum, showed interesting differences in their accumulation of these elements. L. andersonii tended to concentrate Ca in leaves, but Ba was concentrated in roots with Sr equally divided between roots and leaves. L. pallidum concentrated all three of these cations more in roots than in leaves. Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left. Copyright © . .
Article
Analyses of more than 1000 samples of soils, plants and bones of many species from a temperate woodland environment confirm the ubiquity of biopurification processes in which Ba/Ca and Sr/Ca decrease with increasing trophic position. This study reveals that differences among Ba/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios in soils and plants themselves are comparable to or greater than differences due to biopurification and preclude the use of these ratios for the quantitative assessment of dietary plant/meat ratios. The data also reveal that much of this variation at the base of the food web is removed at higher trophic positions through the extraordinary effectiveness of bone in providing a long-term statistical average of diet composition. This reduction in variation effects a pronounced correlation between Ba/Ca and Sr/Ca at higher levels of biopurification such that, given either Ba/Ca or Sr/Ca, a strong constraint can be placed upon the other ratio. This provides a tool for directly assessing whether measured Ba/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios are biological or reflect substantial post-mortem alteration.
Article
An understanding of enamel diagenesis is necessary to ensure sound isotopic palaeodietary and palaeoenvironmental reconstructions. Although carbon isotope signals of browsing and grazing herbivores remain distinct in enamel even after millions of years, subtle alteration of isotopic signatures does occur. To better understand this change we analysed modern and fossil enamel from a number of South African sites using Fourier Transform Infra-Red spectroscopy. Our results indicate that while there is little evidence of increased crystallinity in fossil enamel, there is a small but significant change in the proportion of carbonate ions occupying hydroxyl and phosphate sites. This seems to occur early in the process of fossilization, after which there is no noticeable change. It is also important to note that the degree of alteration varies significantly within and between sites. We suggest that this change results from one or some combination of three mechanisms: exogenous carbonate incorporation, endogenous carbonate loss, and endogenous carbonate reorganization. Determining which mechanism(s) contribute to this alteration is important because all three are likely to affect biogenic carbon isotope ratios differently. FTIR spectroscopy promises to increase our knowledge of diagenesis, and in so doing, should improve our palaeodietary and palaeoenvironmental reconstructions.
Article
Elemental analyses of mammalian bone (e.g., strontium-calcium ratios, or Sr/Ca) distinguish between herbivores and carnivores; however, the relationships among herbivores are unclear. To study this question, a modern faunal sample from the Nagupande Tsetse Control Area (Zambezi drainage, Northwestern Zimbabwe) was used. This collection has the advantage of well-established geographical controls in addition to a varied fauna, which includes both bovids and suids. The grazing/browsing dietary status of each species was ascertained by means of isotopic analysis of carbon. Clear differences were seen in the δ13C of grazing and browsing animals; a specialized grazer was found to have significantly lower Sr/Ca than less specialized grazers and browsers. In this study it was also possible to examine differences in Sr/Ca by sex; female warthogs were found to have significantly lower Sr/Ca than males. The variation in certain animal groups was found to be abnormal. Implications for reconstruction of prehistoric human diets using trace-element techniques are discussed.
Article
Analyses of the strontium isotope ratio (87Sr/86Sr) of vertebrate fossils can provide information about palaeobiological attributes such as habitat use and movement patterns. Diagenetic contaminants can alter the 87Sr/86Sr ratio of fossils, however, complicating palaeobiological interpretations. Several pretreatment protocols have been developed to separate diagenetic contaminants from biogenic Sr. While these methods can remove some diagenetic Sr, it has not been shown that any technique removes all contamination. The extent to which pretreatment removes diagenetic Sr can be quantified through analysis of the 87Sr/86Sr ratios of fossil marine mammal bones and teeth buried in sediments with non-marine diagenetic 87Sr/86Sr signatures. To do this, we examined Holocene seals recovered from archaeological sites in Greenland and California, as well as a Miocene whale from Maryland. Our results demonstrate that although pretreatment eliminated some contaminants from bone, a large percentage (up to 80%) of diagenetic Sr remained after treatment. In contrast, pretreatment does appear to remove nearly all (≥∼95%) diagenetic Sr from tooth enamel. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
Mammalian tooth enamel carbonates from a Pliocene site at Allia Bay in northern Kenya show variable carbon and oxygen isotopic alteration. Sample screening by cathodoluminescence, prior to isotopic analysis, identified areas of extensive chemical alteration and others that were minimally altered. The luminescent patterns were used to guide sampling for the isotope study. Carbon stable isotope ratios of the apatite carbonate from luminescent enamel exteriors differ from the ratios in the enamel interiors and the magnitude of difference varies widely. The interior of the enamel usually retains the carbon isotope ratios expected based on faunal identification, but in a minority of cases, all of the enamel appears to be altered isotopically. Among fauna with an apparent mixed feeding signal, it is particularly difficult to determine whether the δ13C value is due to an actual mixed feeding strategy during life or to alteration toward sediment values. Palaeoecological reconstructions based on the δ13C values of enamel carbonate in browsing fauna would be affected, in many cases, since differences of 1‰ are significant for such reconstructions. Even so, careful selection of unaltered enamel sections should avoid this problem. Palaeodiet reconstruction would be less affected except in those cases where the alteration approaches 5‰. In such cases, a mixed feeding strategy would be the erroneous interpretation of the data. Oxygen isotope ratios in the enamel carbonates show no pattern and the retention of biogenic values is unlikely. For this reason, palaeotemperature reconstructions, based on the δ18O values of the enamel carbonate, would not be possible at this site. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
Belowground plant parts were important potential food resources in the habitats associated with Pliocene and early Pleistocene hominids. The food gathering and dental adaptations of three groups of modem mammals — bears, pigs, and humans — testify to the earlier convergence of these animals on this resource. Since belowground food reserves are relatively unaffected by the factors controlling aboveground food supply (fire, drought, and grazing stress), exploitation of this stable nutritional bank had distinct energetic and behavioral advantages for hominids.
Article
A quantitative analysis of occlusal microwear on the protoconal facets of maxillary permanent second molars of southern African specimens of Australopithecus and Paranthropus reveals that the latter display significantly greater numbers of microwear features as well as significantly higher percentage incidences of pitting on both Phase I and Phase II facets. Wear scratches also tend to display significantly greater degrees of directional heterogeneity on Paranthropus crowns; this increased variability of jaw movement through both Phase I and especially Phase II of mastication may reflect differences in the mechanical properties of the food items triturated by these two taxa. Wear scratches are, on average, significantly shorter but wider, and pits are significantly larger on the occlusal surfaces of Paranthropus molars. Comparisons with microwear feature dimensions recorded for extant primates suggest that the diet of Paranthropus entailed the mastication of harder items than composed the dietary staples of Australopithecus.Taken in conjunction with the differences in dental proportions and craniofacial morphology exhibited by Australopithecus and Paranthropus, the details of occlusal microwear indicate that the diets of these taxa were qualitatively different. The inferred dietary differences and the differences in trophic adaptations do not appear to be related solely to purported differences in estimated body sizes.
Article
Previous study of the strontium calcium ratio (Sr/Ca) of robust australopithecine skeletons from the Transvaal site of Swartkrans indicated that this Pleistocene hominid was an omnivore, suggesting that models for niche differentiation amongst contemporaneous hominids based on trophic level (i.e. Homo sp. = omnivore vs. A. robustus = herbivore) may be incorrect. In this study, we report that relatively elevated Sr/Ca is found in Homo sp. when compared to Australopithecus robustus skeletons from Swartkrans (ca. 1·8 ma BP). Examination of 87 Sr/86Sr in the same skeletons reduces the possibility that the result is due to different substrate sources of Sr. Foods with elevated Sr/Ca in the general area of Swartkrans are mainly geophytes, suggesting that the early Homo niche may have included relatively intensive exploitation of underground plant resources.
Article
The controversy about the validity of using bone and tooth mineral (biological apatite) as an alternative sample material to collagen for stable carbon isotope analyses is briefly reviewed. Some of the apparent contradictions may have arisen as a result of the effects of different pretreatment methods, as well as the choice of tissue. Experimental results are presented which document the isotopic and mineralogical effects of 1 m acetic acid pretreatment on modern and fossil biological apatites. The data show that this procedure has marked effects on modern mineral. Prolonged reaction in 1 m acetic acid leads to recrystallization of bone apatite to brushite (dicalcium phosphate-dihydrate), suggesting that this treatment must be used cautiously for recent archaeological materials. Recrystallization was not observed for older fossil material; changes are rather due to elimination of calcite and the more soluble apatite crystallites. The results indicate that enamel provides the most consistent results. Accordingly, only enamel was used for an applied study of the diets of 1·8 Ma extinct primates from Swartkrans Cave, South Africa.
Article
Strontium-calcium ratios (Sr/Ca) are normally reduced at higher trophic levels in foodwebs, due to discrimination against strontium in favour of calcium by animals. This phenomenon has not generally been applied to the study of fossil foodwebs and the diets of early hominids because of diagenetic changes which obscure or obliterate biological Sr/Ca. The examination of compartments of fossil apatite having differing solubility, however, is a promising method for independently measuring biological and diagenetic Sr/Ca. In this study, Sr/Ca in Member I fossils from the site of Swartkrans were examined using a solubility profile procedure. Sr/Ca relationships observed among Swartkrans fauna match those seen in modern African foodwebs, suggesting that biological Sr/Ca accounts for the observed variation.When specimens of the fossil hominid Australopithecus robustus were examined, Sr/Ca values were inconsistent with that of a root, rhizome or seed-eating herbivore, suggesting that the diet of this species was more diverse than previously believed, and almost certainly included the consumption of animal foods.
Article
Strontium-calcium ratio (Sr/Ca) and stable carbon isotope ratio (13C/12C) analyses of bone and enamel apatites may be used for reconstructing predator-prey relationships in vertebrate fossil assemblages. The approach is based on the rationale that 13C/12C in predator apatite closely resemble those of their prey, while Sr/Ca is predictably reduced in specific predator-prey pairs. As an example, we compare the relationship of the extant leopard, Panthera pardus, and its preferred prey in modern foodwebs, with the relationship of fossil leopards (from the Member 1 fossil faunal assemblage at Swartkrans Cave), and their likely prey. The results suggest that Swartkrans Member I leopards depended heavily on Papio baboons, with some lesser contribution from Hyrax (Procavia sp.). The approach has considerable potential for elucidating the preferred prey of extinct predators such as sabertooth cats.
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Strontium and calcium have been measured in a range of plants and animals (both marine and terrestrial) from the southwestern Cape of South Africa as part of an investigation of modern and prehistoric foodwebs in the region. First, the meat of marine molluscs and crustaceans are shown to have Sr and Sr/Ca values comparable to those of terrestrial plants. Thus, the consumption of these marine foods in this region cannot produce the markedly elevated Sr levels seen in archaeological human skeletons from coastal sites; such levels are shown to be a diagenetic phenomenon. Second, reduction in Sr/Ca in higher trophic levels is seen only when predators are compared with their prey. However, individual herbivore or carnivore species cannot be taken to represent other animals in their respective trophic level. These data imply that Sr/Ca is inappropriate for determining meat intake in complex prehistoric human diets in this region. The technique may be more useful in examining specific prey-predator relationships, including those in the early hominid fossil record.
Article
The emphasis on tooth enamel for extraction of stable light isotope signals from the mineral phase of archaeological and paleontological calcified tissues is based on the widespread understanding that enamel remains a relatively closed system, while bone does not. Twenty years ago, however, Sullivan and Krueger’s groundbreaking study demonstrating the potential of stable carbon isotopes from the mineral phase relied entirely on bone apatite samples from archaeological sites. Further effort to test whether diagenetic effects in bone mineral may be circumvented remains important because bone apatite yields dietary information about adult life-stages beyond the discrete snapshots obtainable from enamel. In this paper we re-examine the grounds for exclusion of bone apatite as sample material, using case studies drawn from three sites which differ in age and depositional conditions. We use 13C/12C, 18O/16O, 87Sr/86Sr, and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy data from three sites (Reunion Rocks, Border Cave, and Makapansgat Limeworks) to show that, while enamel is not a closed system, it nevertheless retains biogenic isotopic signals. In addition, bone signals may be surprisingly well preserved where fossilisation pathways have induced ‘enamel-like’ crystallisation changes.
Article
Investigation of modern and fossil teeth from northern and central Kenya, using the ion microprobe, electron microprobe, and transmission electron microscope, confirms that fossil tooth chemistry is controlled not only by the diagenetic precipitation of secondary minerals but also by the chemical alteration of the biogenic apatite. Increases in the concentrations of Fe, Mn, Si, Al, Ba, and possibly Cu in fossil vs. modern teeth reflect mixtures of apatite and secondary minerals. These secondary minerals occur in concentrations ranging from ∼0.3% in enamel to ∼5% in dentine and include sub-μm, interstitial Fe-bearing manganite [(Fe3+, Mn3+)O(OH)], and smectite. The pervasive distribution and fine grain size of the secondary minerals indicate that mixed analyses of primary and secondary material are unavoidable in in situ methods, even in ion microprobe spots only 10 μm in diameter, and that bulk chemical analyses are severely biased. Increases in other elements, including the rare earth elements, U, F, and possibly Sr apparently reflect additional alteration of apatite in both dentine and enamel. Extreme care will be required to separate secondary minerals from original biogenic apatite for paleobiological or paleoclimate studies, and nonetheless bulk analyses of purified apatite may be suspect. Although the PO4 component of teeth seems resistant to chemical alteration, the OH component is extensively altered. This OH alteration implies that bulk analyses of fossil tooth enamel for oxygen isotope composition may be systematically biased by ±1‰, and seasonal records of oxygen isotope composition may be spuriously shifted, enhanced, or diminished.
Article
Diagenesis of structural carbonate in biogenic apatite in the postmortem environment is modeled as a process of water-mineral interaction. Both closed- and open-system model calculations suggest that δ13C of structural carbonate in biogenic apatite is much more resistant to diagenetic modification than δ18O. Apatite structural carbonate retains an original δ13C signal in closed-system diagenesis. For open systems, δ13C of biogenic apatite with very low porosity, such as tooth enamel, can survive most diagenesis and retain a primary isotopic signature. On the hand, δ18O of structural carbonate in biogenic apatite may not be a reliable indicator of the original isotopic ratios, except in a diagenetic system with low temperature and very low water/biomineral ratio.Application of the model to teeth, and carbonate cement in sediments from the Badlands, South Dakota, illustrates that δ13C values of enamel samples preserve the original signal whereas δ13C values of dentine represent varying extents of diagenesis. δ18O values of fossil teeth may record an early or late part of their water-biomineral interaction history during diagenesis.
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In palaeodietary studies it is assumed that no discrimination occurs during uptake by plants of calcium and strontium from the soil. Here, a compilation of distribution ratios is presented from which it is apparent that differences in Sr/Ca ratios within and between plants do exist. These differences affect Sr intake by humans and animals and thus should be taken into consideration when interpreting prehistoric human bone Sr levels in a dietary sense, and when selecting a herbivorous baseline species. In agricultural societies, human Sr intake may be diversified by differences in Sr/Ca ratios in various grain species and varieties.
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DISSERTATION (PH.D.)--THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN Dissertation Abstracts International,
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Pennsylvania, 1981. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 176-190). Photocopy.
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"Graduate Program in Anthropology." Includes abstract. Vita. Thesis (Ph. D.)--Rutgers University, 1999. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 113-132).
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The absorption of calcium and strontium from the gastrointestinal tract was determined in lactating rats between the 14th and 16th day of lactation using radioactive isotopes of calcium (45Ca and47Ca) and strontium (85Sr) both in thein vivo and in thein vitro experiments. The absorbed dose of strontium and calcium (expressed as the sum of the radioactivity retained in the skeleton of the mother and litter and eliminated in urine) was determined in lactating animals after a two-day oral administration of radioactive isotopes. The absorbed radioactive dose in lactating animals was found to be 3 times as high for calcium and twice as high for strontium as in controls. The total amount of calcium and strontium absorbed from the intestinal tract of lactating animals was, however, about 6 and 4 times as high as in controls due to a two-fold increase in food consumption. The total passage of calcium and strontium from the mucosal to the serosal side of the everted duodenal sac in lactating animals was 2.8 and 3.4 times as high for strontium and calcium respectively as in controls. The active transport of calcium was also about twice normal in lactating animals. The authors discuss the possible morphological basis for these findings.
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Strontium in archaeological human bones is widely, almost paradigmatically, used as a measure of the relative dietary abundances of plants and meat. Quantitative modeling reveals, however, that there is not a simple proportional relationship between bone strontium and the dietary plant/meat ratio. While knowledge of specific foods and their compositions may permit accurate calculation of average bone strontium levels, knowledge of bone strontium does not inversely allow accurate calculation of specific foods. Although bone strontium quantitatively reflects the average dietary Sr/Ca ratio, it is disproportionately sensitive to high-calcium foods and can be easily affected by minor dietary constituents and culinary practices. Bone strontium, and by analogy, barium, should be seen as a reflection of the high-mineral dietary components rather than a quantitative index of trophic position.