Stable isotope analysis of white-tailed deer teeth as a paleoenvironmental proxy at the Maya site of La Joyanca, northwestern Petén, Guatemala

Rivera-Araya, Maria, Emery, Kitty F., Arnauld, M. Charlotte, and Pilaar Birch, Suzanne (2019) Stable isotope analysis of white-tailed deer teeth as a paleoenvironmental proxy at the Maya site of La Joyanca, northwestern Petén, Guatemala. Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies, 55 (4). pp. 344-365.

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Abstract

Carbon and oxygen isotopes ratios from herbivore teeth have previously been used as paleo-environmental proxies in temperate zones. However, their utility in tropical zones remains uncertain. In this study, sequential sub-samples from white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) teeth (second and third molars) from the Maya archaeological site of La Joyanca, located in northwestern Petén, Guatemala, show that δ18O of enamel carbonate corresponds broadly to modern observed precipitation δ18O over the 10-month period of tooth formation, capturing rainfall seasonality. The analyses also detect significant diachronic differences in the δ18O between the periods 1100–1000 BP (850–950 A.D.) and 1000–900 BP (950–1050 A.D.) at La Joyanca. The δ13C in both periods are indicative of a C3-plant based diet, which suggests cultivation of maize did not differentially affect deer diet during this period.

Item ID: 59889
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1477-2639
Keywords: Carbon-13; enamel; isotope; ecology; Maya; Odocoileus; virginianus; oxygen-18; paleoclimate; paleoecology; teeth; Yucatán
Copyright Information: © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Funders: Delta Kappa Gamma International Society for Key Women Educators, Center for Archaeological Sciences - University of Georgia, Fulbright Foreign Student Program, Universidad de Costa Rica
Date Deposited: 27 Aug 2019 21:57
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210102 Archaeological Science @ 50%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040605 Palaeoclimatology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960301 Climate Change Adaptation Measures @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology @ 50%
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