Seasonal paleoecological records from antler collagen δ13C and δ15N

SCHWARTZ-NARBONNE, Rachel, PLINT, Tessa, HALL, Elizabeth, ZAZULA, Grant and LONGSTAFFE, Fred J (2021). Seasonal paleoecological records from antler collagen δ13C and δ15N. Paleobiology.

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Cervids living in high latitudes have evolved to thrive in ecosystems that experience dramatic seasonal changes. Understanding these seasonal adaptations is important for reconstructing cervid life histories, ecosystem dynamics and responses in the distant and not-so-distant past to changing seasonality caused by climate change. Cervid antlers provide a rare opportunity for insight into faunal seasonal ecology, as they are grown and shed each year. Stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen measured directly from antlers have the potential to provide seasonal dietary data for individuals. If the isotopic signals in bone and antler are controlled by the same metabolic processes, then the stable carbon and nitrogen isotope compositions of collagen (δ13CColl and δ15NColl) from incrementally grown antler tissue provide time-constrained dietary signals from the spring and summer growth season. Bone, by comparison, provides an average signal over several years. The amino acid (glutamate and phenylalanine) δ15N in antlers from modern captive caribou showed similar trophic discrimination factors to earlier results for other collagenous tissues (bone, tooth dentin and cementum). Hence, growth rate was not the primary control on the stable isotope composition of antler collagen. We applied this knowledge to assess seasonal shifts in Quaternary fossils of three Cervidae species: elk (Cervus elaphus), moose (Alces alces), and caribou (Rangifer tarandus). Paired antler-bone δ13CColl and δ15NColl from the same individual were used to identify differences between summer and annual diet and ecology. Intra-antler isotopic variability from serially sampled antlers was used to examine seasonal dietary shifts and specialization.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Paleontology; 0403 Geology; 0602 Ecology; 0603 Evolutionary Biology
Identification Number:
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2020 11:29
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2021 16:15

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