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Variations in bone collagen δ13C and δ15N values of fauna from Northwest Europe over the last 40 000 years.

Richards, M. P. and Hedges, R. E. M. (2003) 'Variations in bone collagen δ13C and δ15N values of fauna from Northwest Europe over the last 40 000 years.', Palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology., 193 (2). pp. 261-267.


We report here a signal in the temporal variation of stable isotopes in protein from surviving animal bone in Northwest Europe over the past glacial cycle. There is a change in the average δ13C values of fauna in the Holocene, and there is also a significant reduction in δ15N values of herbivore bone collagen towards the end of the last glaciation, with a subsequent recovery soon after the start of the Holocene. This change is observed for several species and is restricted to those regions most affected by the glacial advance. Comparison with ice core data shows that there is a strong correlation between the average δ13C values of three herbivore species and ice core CO2 concentration. The data presented here show how readily available faunal bone collagen δ13C and δ15N measurements provide a record of past climate and environmental change on a regional to continental scale

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Palaeoclimate, Stable isotopes, N13C, N15N, Palaeoenvironments, Archaeology, Europe.
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Record Created:16 Jul 2009 12:20
Last Modified:12 Aug 2010 16:58

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