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Bone deep: variation in stable isotope ratios and histomorphometric measurements of bone remodelling within adult humans

Fahy, Geraldine. E, Deter, Chris, Pitfield, Rosie, Miszkiewicz, Justyna. J, Mahoney, Patrick (2017) Bone deep: variation in stable isotope ratios and histomorphometric measurements of bone remodelling within adult humans. Journal of Archaeological Science, 87 . pp. 10-16. ISSN 0305-4403. (doi:10.1016/j.jas.2017.09.009)

Abstract

Stable carbon (?13C) and nitrogen (?15N) isotope studies of ancient human diet increasingly sample several skeletal elements within an individual. Such studies draw upon differences in bone turnover rates to reconstruct diet during different periods of time within an individual’s lifetime. Rib and femoral bone, with their respectively fast and slow remodeling rates, are the bones most often sampled to reconstruct shorter and longer term signals of diet prior to death. It is poorly understood if ?13C and ?15N vary between bone types within a single individual, or if this variation corresponds with bone turnover rate (BTR). Here, we determined ?13C and ?15N for ten different bones from ten adult human skeletons (n=5 males; n=5 females). Isotope values were compared to the rate that each bone remodeled, calculated from osteon population (OPD) density. Results reveal that isotope ratios varied within each skeleton (?13C: max= -1.58‰; ?1542 N: max= 3.05‰). Humeri, metacarpals, and ribs had the highest rate of bone remodelling; the occipital bone had the lowest. A regression analyses revealed that higher rates of bone remodeling are significantly and negatively correlated with lower ?15N. Our results suggest that the occipital bone, with its slow rate of bone renewal, may prove useful for isotopic studies that reconstruct diet over longer periods of time within an individual’s lifetime. Isotope studies that compare individual skeletal elements between populations should standardize their methodology to bones with either a slow or fast turnover rate.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.jas.2017.09.009
Uncontrolled keywords: Stable isotopes. Bone remodelling
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Geraldine Fahy
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2017 14:20 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 19:29 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/63272 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Fahy, Geraldine. E: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1281-1260
Mahoney, Patrick: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2715-3096
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