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Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis of northwest European horse bone and tooth collagen, 40,000 BP-present: Palaeoclimatic interpretations

Stevens, RE; Hedges, REM; (2004) Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis of northwest European horse bone and tooth collagen, 40,000 BP-present: Palaeoclimatic interpretations. Quaternary Science Reviews , 23 (7-8) pp. 977-991. 10.1016/j.quascirev.2003.06.024.

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Abstract

Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios of bone and tooth dentine collagen from 142 horses were analysed to consider the potential of isotopic analysis of faunal remains as a palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic proxy. A general trend through time towards lighter δ 13 C values was observed, but with an obvious depletion at the Late Glacial/Holocene transition. Horse δ 13 C values appear to track plant δ 13 C. Although phenomenon such as the canopy effect may influence faunal δ 13 C values, we believe that the influence on plants of increasing atmospheric CO 2 is the primary factor in the change in faunal δ 13 C values at the Late Glacial/Holocene transition. A post-glacial depletion in horse δ 15 N values is observed in areas proximal to glacial retreat although no data is available in these areas during the Last Glacial Maximum. Horse δ 15 N values are presumed to reflect plant δ 15 N values. Depleted plant nitrogen may be attributed to a number of factors e.g. water availability, temperature, cycling of nitrogen in the soil, soil nutrient availability (especially phosphorus in the post-glacial period), and the type of mycorrhizal associations formed with plant. These effects may be interrelated, and be linked such that a positive feedback can give a non-linear response to a single parameter. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Type: Article
Title: Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis of northwest European horse bone and tooth collagen, 40,000 BP-present: Palaeoclimatic interpretations
DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2003.06.024
UCL classification: UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences
UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Institute of Archaeology
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URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1463244
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