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Analysis of 13C and 15N isotopes from Eurasian Quaternary fossils

Insights in diet, climate and ecology

M. Kuitems
14 May 2020
The publication in Open Access

Woolly mammoth fossils on an island where the species eventually dies out, human and animal fossils on the bottom of the North Sea, remains of Siberian unicorns and exceptionally well-preserved bones from 300,000 years ago from the famous Schöningen archaeological site in Germany: these are the main topics discussed in this thesis.In this dissertation, a vast amount of isotope (d13C and d15N) data from bulk collagen of Quaternary mammalian fossils are presented and discussed. Most of these data are measured at the Centre for Isotope Research (CIO), Groningen (n > 400). The dataset consists of samples from various localities within Eurasia and are taken from human fossils, but mainly from fossils of various animal taxa including extinct species. Many of these faunal species belong to the typical ‘Mammoth steppe fauna’.

The results shed light on dietary and habitat characteristics of these animals and hominins through time and space, often during episodes of dramatic climate change. Overall, this thesis, a study of stable isotope data from mammalian fossils, contributes to our understanding of ecological conditions during the Pleistocene / Early Holocene in Eurasia.

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