Advertisement

Experimental Evidence for the Relationship of the Carbon Isotope Ratios of Whole Diet and Dietary Protein to Those of Bone Collagen and Carbonate

  • Stanley H. Ambrose
  • Lynette Norr

Abstract

The use of stable carbon isotopes for diet reconstruction is predicated on the assumption that you are what you eat. In other words, the carbon isotopic composition of animal tissues is assumed to be a direct and constant function of the diet. Is this assumption valid? Precise dietary reconstruction requires as accurate knowledge of the isotopic composition of locally available dietary resources, as well as an adequate understanding of the effects of nutrition, environment, and physiology on the diet-tissue function (van der Merwe 1982, 1989; Chisholm 1989; Norr 1990; Matson and Chisholm 1991; Tieszen 1991; Ambrose 1992). There is a systematic but poorly defined difference between the isotopic composition of the consumer tissues and that of the diet (an enrichment factor, expressed as Δ diet-tissue). Given the isotopic composition of a specific tissue, that of the diet or of other tissues may be calculated if the Δ diet-tissue difference factors are known. The dietary proportions of isotopically distinct food resources (e.g., C3 vs C4, or C3 vs marine) have thus been calculated from the δ 13C value of bone collagen (Δ13Cd-co) and bone apatite carbonate (Δ13Cd-ca). Deviations from actual or assumed average δ 13C values for dietary endmembers, and incorrect values for diet-to-tissue isotopic relationships, will lead to errors in the estimation of consumption of specific classes of resources. Experiments and observations designed to determine the diet-to-collagen stable isotope functions (Δ13Cd-co) however, have provided widely different values.

Keywords

Carbon Isotope Carbon Isotope Ratio Wheat Gluten Bone Collagen Stable Carbon Isotope Ratio 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Ambrose SH (1990) Preparation and characterization of bone and tooth collagen for stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis. J Archaeol Sci 17: 430–451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ambrose SH (1992) Isotopic analysis of paleodiets: Methodological and interpretive considerations. In: Sandford MK (ed) Elemental and isotopic analyses: Understanding diet and disease in past populations. Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, New York, pp 59–130Google Scholar
  3. Ambrose SH, Sikes NE (1991) Soil carbon isotope evidence for Holocene habitat change in the Kenya Rift Valley. Science 253: 1402–1405CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bender ML, Baerreis DA, Steventon RL (1 981) Further light on carbon isotopes and Hopewell agriculture. Am Antiq 46: 346–353Google Scholar
  5. Bligh EG, Dyer WJ (1959) A rapid method of total lipid extraction and purification. Can J Biochem Physiol 37: 911–917CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Buchanan WF (1988) Shellfish in prehistoric diets, Elands Bay, SW Cape coast, South Africa. BAR International Series 455, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  7. Buddington RK, Diamond JM (1989) Ontogenetic development of intestinal nutrient transport. Annu Rev Physiol 51: 601–619CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cerling TE, Quade J, Ambrose SH, Sikes NE (1991) Fossil soils, grasses and carbon isotopes from Fort Ternan, Kenya: Grassland or woodland? J Hum Evol 21: 295–306Google Scholar
  9. Chisholm BS (1986) Reconstruction of prehistoric diet in British Columbia using stable carbon isotopic analysis. PhD thesis, Simon Fraser UniversityGoogle Scholar
  10. Chisholm BS (1 989) Variation in diet reconstructions based on stable isotopic evidence. In: Price TD (ed) The chemistry of prehistoric human bone. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 10–37Google Scholar
  11. Chisholm BS, Nelson DE, Schwarcz HP (1982) Stable-carbon isotope ratios as a measure of marine versus terrestrial protein in ancient diets. Science 216: 1131–1132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chisholm BS, Nelson DE, Schwarcz HP (1983) Marine and terrestrial protein in prehistoric diets on the British Columbia coast. Curr Anthropol 24: 396–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Deines P (1980) The isotopic composition of reduced organic carbon. In Fritz P, Fontes J-C (eds) Handbook of environmental isotope geochemistry, vol 1. The terrestrial environment. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 329–406Google Scholar
  14. DeNiro MJ, Epstein S (1978) Influence of diet on the distribution of carbon isotopes in animals. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 42: 495–406CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. DeNiro MJ, Epstein S (1981) Influence of diet on the distribution of nitrogen isotopes in animals. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 45: 341–351CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ericson JE, Sullivan CH, Boaz NT (1981) Diets of Pliocene mammals from Omo, Ethiopia, deduced from carbon isotopic ratios of tooth apatite. Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol 36: 69–73Google Scholar
  17. Ferraris RP, Diamond JM (1989) Specific regulation of intestinal nutrient transporters by their dietary substrates. Annu Rev Physiol 51: 125–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hare PE, Fogel ML, Stafford TW Jr, Mitchell AD, Hoering TC (1991) The isotopic composition of carbon and nitrogen in individual amino acids isolated from modern and fossil proteins. J Archaeol Sci 18: 277–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jacobson BS, Smith BN, Jacobson AV (1972) Alloxan induced change from carbohydrate to lipid oxidation in rats determined by the prevalence of carbon-13 in expired carbon dioxide. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 47: 398–402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Karasov WH, Diamond JM (1988) Interplay between physiology and ecology in digestion. BioScience 38: 602–611CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Keegan WF, DeNiro MJ (1988) Stable carbon-and nitrogen-isotope ratios of collagen used to study coral-reef and terrestrial components of prehistoric Bahamian diet. Am Antiq 53: 320–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kennedy BVE (1988) Variation in 673C values of post-medieval Europeans. PhD thesis, University of CalgaryGoogle Scholar
  23. Klepinger L, Mintel R (1986) Metabolic considerations in reconstructing past diet from stable carbon isotope ratios of bone collagen. In Olin JS, Blackman MJ (eds) Proceedings of the 24th Archaeometry symposium. Smithsonian Institute Press, Washington DC, pp 43–48Google Scholar
  24. Koch PL, Behrensmeyer AK, Tuross N, Fogel ML (1990) Isotopic fidelity during bone weathering and burial. Annual report of the director, Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution, Washington, 1989–1990, pp 105–110Google Scholar
  25. Koch PL, Zachos JC, Gingerich PD (1992) Correlation between isotope records in marine and continental carbon reservoirs near the Paleocene/Eocene boundary. Nature 358: 319–322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Koike H, Chisholm B (1988) An application of stable-carbon isotopic ratios for the diet analysis of wild animals. Saitama University, College of Liberal Arts, Bulletin 6: 107–115Google Scholar
  27. Kramer B, Shear MJ (1928) Composition of bone. IV. Primary calcification. J Biol Chem 79: 147–160Google Scholar
  28. Krueger HW (1991) Exchange of carbon with biological apatite. J Archaeol Sci 18. American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, pp 355–361Google Scholar
  29. Krueger HW, Sullivan CH (1984) Models for carbon isotope fractionation between diet and bone. In Turnlund JE, Johnson PE (eds) Stable isotopes in nutrition. ACS Symp Ser 258, pp 205–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lee RB (1968) What hunters do for a living, or, how to make out on scarce resources. In Lee RB, DeVore I (eds) Man the hunter. Aldine, Chicago, pp 30–48Google Scholar
  31. Lee-Thorp JA (1989) Stable carbon isotopes in deep time: The diets of fossil fauna and hominids. PhD dissertation, University of Cape TownGoogle Scholar
  32. Lee-Thorp JA, van der Merwe NJ (1987) Carbon isotope analysis of fossil bone apatite. S Afr J Sci 83: 712–715Google Scholar
  33. Lee-Thorp JA, van der Merwe NJ (1991) Aspects of the chemistry of modern and fossil biological apatites. J Archaeol Sci 18: 343–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lee-Thorp JA, Sealy J, van der Merwe NJ (1989a) Stable carbon isotope ratio differences between bone collagen and bone apatite, and their relationship to diet. J Archaeol Sci 16: 585–599CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lee-Thorp JA, van der Merwe NJ, Brain CK (1989b) Isotopic evidence for dietary differences between two extinct baboon species from Swartkrans. J Hum Evol 18: 183–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Leung W-TW (1961) Food composition table for use in Latin America. Interdepartmental committee on nutrition for national defense. National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MarylandGoogle Scholar
  37. Macko SA, Estep MLF, Hare PE, Hoering TC (1982) Stable nitrogen and carbon isotopic composition of individual amino acids isolated from cultured microorganisms. Annual report of the director, Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution, Washington, 1981–1982, pp 404–410Google Scholar
  38. Marino B, McElroy MB (1991) Isotopic composition of atmospheric CO2 inferred from carbon in C4 plant cellulose. Nature 349: 127–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Matson RG, Chisholm B (1991) Basketmaker Il subsistence: Carbon isotopes and other dietary indicators from Cedar Mesa, Utah. Am Antiq 56: 444–459Google Scholar
  40. McCrae JM (1950) On the isotope chemistry of carbonates and a paleo-temperature scale. J Chem Phys 18: 849–857CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Meehan B (1977) Man does not live by shellfish alone: The role of shellfish in a coastal cuisine. In Allen J, Golson J, Jones R (eds) Sunda and Sahul. Prehistoric studies in Southeast Asia, Melanesia and Australia. Academic Press, London, pp 493–531Google Scholar
  42. Nakamura K, Schoeller DA, Winkler FJ, Schmidt H-L (1982) Geographical variations in the carbon isotope composition of the diet and hair in contemporary man. Biomed Mass Spectrom 9: 390–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. National Research Council (1978) Nutrient requirements of laboratory animals. 3rd rev. edn. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  44. Nietschmann B (1972) Hunting and fishing focus among the Miskito Indians, eastern Nicaragua. Hum Ecol 1: 41–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Noli D, Avery G (1988) Protein poisoning and coastal subsistence. J Archaeol Science 15: 359–401Google Scholar
  46. Norr L (1990) Nutritional consequences of prehistoric subsistence strategies in lower Central America. PhD thesis, University of Illinois, Urbana-ChampaignGoogle Scholar
  47. Parkington J (1987) On stable carbon isotopes and dietary reconstruction. Curr Anthropol 28: 91–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Parkington J (1991) Approaches to dietary reconstruction in the western Cape: Are you what you have eaten? J Archaeol Sci 18: 331–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Pasquale SM, Messier AA, Shea ML, Schaefer KE (1980) Bone CO2-titration curves in acute hypercapnia obtained with a modified titration technique. J Appl Physiol Respir Environ Exercise Physiol 48: 197–201Google Scholar
  50. Poyart CF, Burseaux E, Freminet A (1975) The bone CO2 compartment: Evidence for a bicarbonate pool. Respir Physiol 25: 89–99Google Scholar
  51. Quade J, Cerling TE, Barry JC, Morgan ME, Pilbeam DR, Chivas AR, Lee-Thorp JA, van der Merwe, NJ (1992) A 16-Ma record of paleodiet using carbon and oxygen isotopes in fossil teeth from Pakistan. Chem Geol (Isot Geosci Sect) 94: 183–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Schoeller DA, Brown C, Nakamura K, Nakagawa A, Mazzeo RS, Brooks GA, Budinger TF (1984) Influences of metabolic fuel on the 13C/12C ratio of breath CO2. Biomed Mass Spectrom 11: 557–561CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Schoeninger MJ (1989) Reconstructing prehistoric human diet. In: Price TD (ed) The chemistry of prehistoric human bone. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 38–67Google Scholar
  54. Schoeninger MJ, DeNiro MJ (1982) Carbon isotope ratios of apatite from fossil bone cannot be used to reconstruct diets of animals. Nature 297: 577–578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Schoeninger MJ, DeNiro MJ, Tauber H (1983) Stable nitrogen isotope ratios reflect marine and terrestrial components of prehistoric human diet. Science 220: 1381–1383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Schwarcz HP (1991) Some theoretical aspects of isotope paleodiet studies. J Archaeol Sci 18: 261–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Schwarcz HP, Melbye J, Katzenberg MA, Knyf M (1985) Stable isotopes in human skeletons of southern Ontario: Reconstructing paleodiet. J Archaeol Sci 12: 187–206Google Scholar
  58. Sealy J (1986) Stable carbon isotopes and prehistoric diets in the southwestern Cape Province, South Africa. BAR International Series 293. British Archaeological Reports, Oxford.Google Scholar
  59. Sealy J (1989) The use of chemical techniques for reconstructing prehistoric diets: A case study in the southwestern Cape. S Afr Archaeol Soc Goodwin Ser 6: 69–76Google Scholar
  60. Sillen A (1989) Diagenesis of the inorganic phase of cortical bone. In Price TD (ed) The chemistry of prehistoric bone. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 211–229Google Scholar
  61. Sillen A, Sealy JC, van der Merwe NJ (1989) Chemistry and paleodiet research: No more easy answers. Am Antiq 54: 504–512Google Scholar
  62. Smith BN (1972) Natural abundance of the stable isotopes of carbon in biological systems. BioScience 22: 226–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Smith BN, Epstein S (1971) Two categories of13C/12C ratios for higher plants. Plant Physiol 47: 380–384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Smith CK (1981) Re-evaluation of the protein requirements for weanling rats using skeletal muscle growth and protein synthesis and breakdown as the criteria. MS thesis, University of Illinois, Urbana-ChampaignGoogle Scholar
  65. Spallholz JE (1989) Nutrition: chemistry and biology. Prentice Hall, Englewood, NJGoogle Scholar
  66. Speth JD (1987) Early hominid subsistence strategies in seasonal environments. J Archaeol Sci 14: 13–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Speth JD (1989) Early hominid hunting and scavenging: The role of meat as an energy source. J Hum Evol 18: 329–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Speth JD, Spielmann KA (1983) Energy source, protein metabolism, and hunter-gatherer subsistence strategies. J Anthropol Archaeol 2: 1–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Spielmann K, Schoeninger MJ, Moore K (1990) Plains-Pueblo interdependence and human diet at Pecos Pueblo, New Mexico. Am Antiq 55: 745–765Google Scholar
  70. Sullivan CH, Krueger HW (1981) Carbon isotope analysis in separate chemical phases in modern and fossil bone. Nature 292: 333–335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Thackeray JF, van der Merwe NJ, Lee-Thorp JA, Sillen A, Lanham JL, Smith R, Keyser A, Montiero PMS (1990) Changes in carbon isotope ratios in the late Permian recorded in therapsid tooth apatite. Nature 347: 751–753CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Tieszen LL (1991) Natural variations in the carbon isotopes of plants: Implications for archaeology, ecology and paleoecology. J Archaeol Sci 18: 227–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Tieszen LL, Boutton TW (1988) Stable carbon isotopes in terrestrial ecosystem research. In: Runde) PW, Ehleringer JR, Nagy KA (eds) Stable isotopes in ecological research. Ecological Studies 68. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 167–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Troughton JH, Wells PV, Mooney HA (1974) Photosynthetic mechanisms and paleoecology from carbon isotope ratios in ancient specimens of C4 and CAM plants. Science 185: 610–612CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. van der Merwe NJ (1982) Carbon isotopes, photosynthesis, and archaeology. Am Sci 70: 209–215Google Scholar
  76. van der Merwe NJ (1989) Natural variation in 13C concentration and its effect on environmental reconstruction using 13C/12C ratios in animal bones. In: Price TD (ed) The chemistry of prehistoric human bone. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 105–125Google Scholar
  77. Vogel JC (1978) Isotopic assessment of the dietary habits of ungulates. S Afr J Sci 74: 298–301Google Scholar
  78. Vogel JC (1982) Koolstofisotoopsamestelling van plantproteiene. S Afr Tydskr Natuurwet Tegnol 1: 7–8Google Scholar
  79. Vogel JC, van der Merwe NJ (1977) Isotopic evidence for early maize cultivation in New York State. Am Antiq 42: 238–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. White CD, Schwarcz HP (1989) Ancient Maya diet: As inferred from isotopic and elemental analysis of human bone. J Archaeol Sci 16: 451–474.Google Scholar
  81. Williams V (1992) Bone collagen purification with ether and NaOH for stable isotope analysis. MA thesis, University of Illinois, Urbana-ChampaignGoogle Scholar
  82. Winkler FJ, Schmidt H-L (1980) Einsatzmöglichkeiten der13C-Isotopenmassenspektrometrie in der Lebensmitteluntersuchung. Z Lebensm Unters Forsch 171: 85–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stanley H. Ambrose
  • Lynette Norr
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)UrbanaUSA

Personalised recommendations