Brief communication: Tissue isotopic enrichment associated with growth depression in a pig: Implications for archaeology and ecology

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Abstract

Stressors such as fasting or poor diet quality are thought to potentially alter the nitrogen and carbon isotopic values of animal tissues. In this study, we demonstrate an inverse correlation between growth rate and multiple tissue enrichment of δ15N, δ13C, and, to a lesser degree, δ18O in a juvenile pig. A more complex pattern is observed with respect to tissue δD and growth rate. The observed association between growth rate and tissue isotopic fractionation has important implications for paleodietary and migratory reconstructions of archaeological populations that may have been affected by famine, malnutrition, seasonal variation in food availability, and/or other factors that can affect childhood growth rates. Am J Phys Anthropol 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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