Diet analysis reveals pre-historic meals among the Loma San Gabriel at La Cueva de Los Muertos Chiquitos, Rio Zape, Mexico (600–800 CE)

  • Elisa PucuEmail author
  • Julia Russ
  • Karl Reinhard
Original Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Coprolite Research: Archaeological and Paleoenvironmental Potentials


Coprolites have been a source of study for archeologists due to several reasons: they not only provide information on the life and nutritional habits of ancient individuals but also on their health. In this paper, we processed 10 coprolites collected at La Cueva de Los Muertos Chiquitos (600–800 CE), Rio Zape, Mexico, with acetolysis solution for pollen analysis. The number of pollen grains/gram of each coprolite sample was quantified along with the macroscopic remains of these samples. The main food item ingested by the population was maize, followed by Agave. Squash blossoms were also part of their food source determined by the presence of pollen grains. In macroremains, we identified rodent bones, plant seeds, and Agave fibers. The macroscopic analysis of the samples fits with the analysis of smaller remains, giving an idea of the meal represented by each coprolite analyzed. We relate these results to previous microbiome studies of coprolite samples from the same archeological site and provide a discussion on the relevancy of studying macro- and microremains that can be applied to microbiome interpretation analysis.


Diet Archaeoparasitology Coprolites Pollen 


Funding information

This study was financed by Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq - 206047/2017-7).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hardin Hall, School of Natural ResourcesUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  2. 2.Laboratório de Biologia Molecular de Parasitos e Paleoparasitologia, Instituto BiomédicoUniversidade Federal FluminenseNiteróiBrazil
  3. 3.Morrison Microscopy Core Research Facility, Center for BiotechnologyUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA

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