Fossil teeth suggest prehistoric red deer in the Adriatic migrated seasonally
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 Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers that ate them, according a study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Suzanne Pilaar Birch from University of Georgia, USA, and colleagues.
|This view from Nugljanska Cave was potentially a good lookout for surveying the prey below 10,000 years ago |
[Credit: Suzanne Pilaar Birch]
|Map of the study region showing sampled sites [Credit: Suzanne E. Pilaar Birch et al., PLOS]|
Although relying on a small dataset, the researchers found differences in the δ18O ranges in red deer teeth from the Pleistocene/Late Upper Palaeolithic compared to the Holocene/Mesolithic, and found less isotope variation within red deer teeth compared to teeth from mountain goats. The authors suggest that, while mountain goats mainly stayed put, red deer may have migrated seasonally in the Pleistocene/Late Upper Palaeolithic, moving over smaller ranges in the Holocene/Mesolithic. These migration patterns may, in turn, have influenced human mobility strategies during this period.
Source: PLOS [June 08, 2016]