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Evolutionary Anthropology Colloquium: Dr. Paul Szpak, Department of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, "Isotopic Perspectives on Human-Animal Interactions"

Mar 17, 2014
from 04:10 PM to 05:00 PM

273 SS&H (Basement Seminar Room)

Evolutionary Anthropology Colloquium Series

Winter 2013*

Monday at 4:10 pm in 273 SS&H

March 17, 2014

Dr. Paul Szpak

Post-doctoral Scholar, Department of Anthropology, University of British Columbia

Isotopic Perspectives on Human-Animal Interactions

Zooarchaeological analyses of animal remains recovered from archaeological sites have been, and continue to be, largely focused on reconstructing the circumstances under which animals came to die and become incorporated into the archaeological record. If our goal in zooarchaeological research is to better understand human-animal and human-environment interactions, we must shift our focus away from animal deaths and towards animal lives. Stable isotope analysis of animal tissues offers one means of doing so by providing insight into how animals lived: the foods they consumed and the types of habitats in which they lived. I illustrate the potential of these techniques with two case studies from my research, one involving the interactions between humans, sea otters, and kelp forest ecosystems in coastal British Columbia, and one involving the herding of llamas and alpacas in the Peruvian Andes.

* Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology, UC Davis