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Journal Article

Stable Nitrogen Isotope Ratios of Bone Collagen Reflect Marine and Terrestrial Components of Prehistoric Human Diet

Margaret J. Schoeninger, Michael J. DeNiro and Henrik Tauber
Science
New Series, Vol. 220, No. 4604 (Jun. 24, 1983), pp. 1381-1383
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1691320
Page Count: 3
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Stable Nitrogen Isotope Ratios of Bone Collagen Reflect Marine and Terrestrial Components of Prehistoric Human Diet
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Abstract

The $\delta ^{15}$ N values of bone collagen from Eskimos and from Northwest Coast Indians dependent on salmon fishing are about 10 per mil more positive than those from agriculturalists in historic times. Among prehistoric humans, two groups dependent on marine food sources show bone collagen $\delta ^{15}$ N values that are 4 to 6 per mil more positive than those from two agricultural groups. The nitrogen isotope ratios of bone collagen from prehistoric inhabitants of the Bahamas are anomalously low for reasons that relate to the biogeochemical cycle of nitrogen in coral reefs.

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