Applications of vertebral morphometrics in Pacific Island archaeological fishing studies

Lambrides, Ariana B.J., and Weisler, Marshall I. (2015) Applications of vertebral morphometrics in Pacific Island archaeological fishing studies. Archaeology in Oceania, 50 (2). pp. 53-70.

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Significant differences between fish bone identification protocols in Pacific Island archaeology and other regions (e.g., Europe and North America) have influenced the use of vertebral morphometrics for the reconstruction of fish length and weight. Fish vertebral morphometrics using vertebrae identified to taxon and type (e.g., caudal, thoracic) are routinely reported in the archaeological literature outside of the Pacific Islands. Conversely, in Pacific Island archaeological fishing studies, vertebrae that are not identified to taxon have been utilised to assess change in average fish vertebrae size, and to reconstruct changes in fish length and weight over time. Using a fish bone assemblage from a prehistoric habitation site on Ebon Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands, we report false trends when vertebrae—not identified to taxon and type—are used to assess differences in average vertebrae size among cultural layers. These results are compared to the same assemblage where taxon and vertebra type are used to more accurately determine fish size. It is essential that vertebrae from Pacific Island fish bone assemblages are identified to taxon and type prior to assessing change in fish size over time, especially when investigating human impacts to finfish resources, capture technology or charting environmental change.

Item ID: 59056
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1834-4453
Keywords: faunal analysis, fish vertebrae, morphometric measures, Marshall Islands, Pacific fishing
Funders: University of Queensland (UQ)
Projects and Grants: UQ Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2019 03:39
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210102 Archaeological Science @ 50%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210106 Archaeology of New Guinea and Pacific Islands (excl New Zealand) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950599 Understanding Past Societies not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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