Stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition of diet and hair of Gidra-speaking Papuans

Authors

  • Jun Yoshinaga,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Human Ecology, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113, Japan
    2. National Institute for Environmental Studies, Ibaraki 305, Japan
    • National Institute for Environmental Studies, Onogawa 16-2, Tsukuba-shi, Ibaraki 305, Japan
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  • Masao Minagawa,

    1. Mitsubishi-kasei Institute of Life Sciences, Tokyo 194, Japan
    2. Graduate School of Environmental Earth Sciences, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060, Japan
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  • Tsuguyoshi Suzuki,

    1. Department of Human Ecology, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113, Japan
    2. National Institute for Environmental Studies, Ibaraki 305, Japan
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  • Ryutaro Ohtsuka,

    1. Department of Human Ecology, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113, Japan
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  • Toshio Kawabe,

    1. Department of Human Ecology, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113, Japan
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  • Tsukasa Inaoka,

    1. Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Kumamoto University, Kumamoto 860, Japan
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  • Tomoya Akimichi

    1. National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka 565, Japan
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Abstract

The carbon and nitrogen stable isotopic composition of the scalp hair and diet of Gidra-speaking people in four villages in Papua New Guinea is presented. The isotopic composition of hair was measured, while that of the diet was estimated from food consumption survey data and the measured isotopic composition and protein and carbohydrate contents of food items. The average isotopic ratios of the hair samples and of the diet varied among the four study villages, which were selected because of their diverse ecological settings. Comparison was made between hair and calculated dietary isotopic compositions. Two of the four diet-hair enrichment values obtained for 13C (+1.8 and 2.2%‰) were similar to those previously reported (1.4–2.0%‰), but the other two values (3.7 and 4.8%) were greater than in earlier reports. 15N enrichment was systematically greater (by 1%‰) than reported values (∼4.3%‰) except for one village, where a much greater enrichment (6.9%‰) was found. The factors potentially relevant to these deviations are discussed. Possible errors in estimating the dietary isotopic composition and minor modifications of dietary habits revealed by food consumption surveys could explain most of the discrepancies. However, the great enrichment of 15N found in one of the villages remains unexplained. © 1996 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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