viernes, 10 de junio de 2016

Fossil teeth suggest prehistoric red deer in the Adriatic migrated seasonally

This view from Nugljanska Cave was potentially a good lookout for surveying the prey below 10,000 years ago. Credit: Suzanne Pilaar Birch

Paleolithic hunter-gatherers depended on this prey, may have left caves to follow them

PLOS. Analysis of oxygen isotopes in fossil teeth from red deer near the Adriatic Sea suggest that they migrated seasonally, which may have driven the movements of the Paleolithic hunter-gatherers that ate them, according a study published June 8, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Suzanne Pilaar Birch from University of Georgia, USA, and colleagues.

Migration patterns of large herbivores, such as red deer (Cervus elaphus), have been used as a proxy to estimate the movements of the prehistoric hunter-gatherers in Europe who relied on them for sustenance. However, interpretation of prehistoric migrations often relies on data from modern populations that may be very different from those that lived before the end of the last ice age. Assessing isotope variation in fossil teeth can be a more accurate indicator of ancient migration patterns, as the teeth of migrating animals have less variation in levels of the oxygen isotope δ18O than the teeth of animals which do not. [...] EurekAlert!