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Stable isotope (13C, 15N and 34S) analysis of the hair of modern humans and their domestic animals


  • Presented at SIMSUG 2002, Belfast, UK.


Relationships between dietary status and recent migration were examined by δ13C, δ15N and δ34S analysis of hair samples from 43 modern humans living in a rural community in SW England. The isotopic content of 38 ‘local’ hair samples was compared with that of five recently arrived individuals (from Canada, Chile, Germany and the USA). Hair samples from domestic animals (i.e. mainly cats, dogs, cows and horses) were analysed to examine the difference in δ13C, δ15N and δ34S values between herbivores and carnivores. Generally, modern human hair data from the triple stable isotope (δ13C, δ15N and δ34S) provided enough information to confirm the dietary status and origin of the individual subjects. The dietary intake was generally reflected in the animal hair δ15N and δ13C values, i.e. highest in the carnivores (cats). However, a non-local origin of food sources given to domesticated omnivores (i.e. dogs) was suggested by their hair δ34S values. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.