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High Potential for Using DNA from Ancient Herring Bones to Inform Modern Fisheries Management and Conservation

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2012-11-30
Abstract: 

Pacific herring (Clupea pallasi) are an abundant and important component of the coastal ecosystems for the west coast of North America. Current Canadian federal herring management assumes five regional herring populations in British Columbia with a high degree of exchange between units, and few distinct local populations within them. Indigenous traditional knowledge and historic sources, however, suggest that locally adapted, distinct regional herring populations may have been more prevalent in the past. Within the last century, the combined effects of commercial fishing and other anthropogenic factors have resulted in severe declines of herring populations, with contemporary populations potentially reflecting only the remnants of a previously more abundant and genetically diverse metapopulation. Through the analysis of 85 archaeological herring bones, this study attempted to reconstruct the genetic diversity and population structure of ancient herring populations using three different marker systems (mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), microsatellites and SNPs). A high success rate (91%) of DNA recovery was obtained from the extremely small herring bone samples (often <10 mg). The ancient herring mtDNA revealed high haplotype diversity comparable to modern populations, although population discrimination was not possible due to the limited power of the mtDNA marker. Ancient microsatellite diversity was also similar to modern samples, but the data quality was compromised by large allele drop-out and stuttering. In contrast, SNPs were found to have low error rates with no evidence for deviations from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, and simulations indicated high power to detect genetic differentiation if loci under selection are used. This study demonstrates that SNPs may be the most effective and feasible approach to survey genetic population structure in ancient remains, and further efforts should be made to screen for high differentiation markers.This study provides the much needed foundation for wider scale studies on temporal genetic variation in herring, with important implications for herring fisheries management, Aboriginal title rights and herring conservation.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Testing for Divergent Transmission Histories among Cultural Characters: A Study Using Bayesian Phylogenetic Methods and Iranian Tribal Textile Data

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2011
Abstract: 

Background

Archaeologists and anthropologists have long recognized that different cultural complexes may have distinct descent histories, but they have lacked analytical techniques capable of easily identifying such incongruence. Here, we show how Bayesian phylogenetic analysis can be used to identify incongruent cultural histories. We employ the approach to investigate Iranian tribal textile traditions.

Methods

We used Bayes factor comparisons in a phylogenetic framework to test two models of cultural evolution: the hierarchically integrated system hypothesis and the multiple coherent units hypothesis. In the hierarchically integrated system hypothesis, a core tradition of characters evolves through descent with modification and characters peripheral to the core are exchanged among contemporaneous populations. In the multiple coherent units hypothesis, a core tradition does not exist. Rather, there are several cultural units consisting of sets of characters that have different histories of descent.

Results

For the Iranian textiles, the Bayesian phylogenetic analyses supported the multiple coherent units hypothesis over the hierarchically integrated system hypothesis. Our analyses suggest that pile-weave designs represent a distinct cultural unit that has a different phylogenetic history compared to other textile characters.

Conclusions

The results from the Iranian textiles are consistent with the available ethnographic evidence, which suggests that the commercial rug market has influenced pile-rug designs but not the techniques or designs incorporated in the other textiles produced by the tribes. We anticipate that Bayesian phylogenetic tests for inferring cultural units will be of great value for researchers interested in studying the evolution of cultural traits including language, behavior, and material culture.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Estimating Surface Area in Early Hominins

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2011
Abstract: 

Height and weight-based methods of estimating surface area have played an important role in the development of the current consensus regarding the role of thermoregulation in human evolution. However, such methods may not be reliable when applied to early hominins because their limb proportions differ markedly from those of humans. Here, we report a study in which this possibility was evaluated by comparing surface area estimates generated with the best-known height and weight-based method to estimates generated with a method that is sensitive to proportional differences. We found that the two methods yield indistinguishable estimates when applied to taxa whose limb proportions are similar to those of humans, but significantly different results when applied to taxa whose proportions differ from those of humans. We also found that the discrepancy between the estimates generated by the two methods is almost entirely attributable to inter-taxa differences in limb proportions. One corollary of these findings is that we need to reassess hypotheses about the role of thermoregulation in human evolution that have been developed with the aid of height and weight-based methods of estimating body surface area. Another is that we need to use other methods in future work on fossil hominin body surface areas.

Document type: 
Article

Archaeological Support for the Three-Stage Expansion of Modern Humans across Northeastern Eurasia and into the Americas

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

Background

Understanding the dynamics of the human range expansion across northeastern Eurasia during the late Pleistocene is central to establishing empirical temporal constraints on the colonization of the Americas [1]. Opinions vary widely on how and when the Americas were colonized, with advocates supporting either a pre-[2] or post-[1], [3], [4], [5], [6] last glacial maximum (LGM) colonization, via either a land bridge across Beringia [3], [4], [5], a sea-faring Pacific Rim coastal route [1], [3], a trans-Arctic route [4], or a trans-Atlantic oceanic route [5]. Here we analyze a large sample of radiocarbon dates from the northeast Eurasian Upper Paleolithic to identify the origin of this expansion, and estimate the velocity of colonization wave as it moved across northern Eurasia and into the Americas.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We use diffusion models [6], [7] to quantify these dynamics. Our results show the expansion originated in the Altai region of southern Siberia ~46kBP , and from there expanded across northern Eurasia at an average velocity of 0.16 km per year. However, the movement of the colonizing wave was not continuous but underwent three distinct phases: 1) an initial expansion from 47-32k calBP; 2) a hiatus from ~32-16k calBP, and 3) a second expansion after the LGM ~16k calBP. These results provide archaeological support for the recently proposed three-stage model of the colonization of the Americas [8], [9]. Our results falsify the hypothesis of a pre-LGM terrestrial colonization of the Americas and we discuss the importance of these empirical results in the light of alternative models.

Conclusions/Significance

Our results demonstrate that the radiocarbon record of Upper Paleolithic northeastern Eurasia supports a post-LGM terrestrial colonization of the Americas falsifying the proposed pre-LGM terrestrial colonization of the Americas. We show that this expansion was not a simple process, but proceeded in three phases, consistent with genetic data, largely in response to the variable climatic conditions of late Pleistocene northeast Eurasia. Further, the constraints imposed by the spatiotemporal gradient in the empirical radiocarbon record across this entire region suggests that North America cannot have been colonized much before the existing Clovis radiocarbon record suggests.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Body Segment Differences in Surface Area, Skin Temperature and 3D Displacement and the Estimation of Heat Balance during Locomotion in Hominins

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2008-06
Abstract: 

The conventional method of estimating heat balance during locomotion in humans and other hominins treats the body as an undifferentiated mass. This is problematic because the segments of the body differ with respect to several variables that can affect thermoregulation. Here, we report a study that investigated the impact on heat balance during locomotion of inter-segment differences in three of these variables: surface area, skin temperature and rate of movement. The approach adopted in the study was to generate heat balance estimates with the conventional method and then compare them with heat balance estimates generated with a method that takes into account inter-segment differences in surface area, skin temperature and rate of movement. We reasoned that, if the hypothesis that inter-segment differences in surface area, skin temperature and rate of movement affect heat balance during locomotion is correct, the estimates yielded by the two methods should be statistically significantly different. Anthropometric data were collected on seven adult male volunteers. The volunteers then walked on a treadmill at 1.2 m/s while 3D motion capture cameras recorded their movements. Next, the conventional and segmented methods were used to estimate the volunteers' heat balance while walking in four ambient temperatures. Lastly, the estimates produced with the two methods were compared with the paired t-test. The estimates of heat balance during locomotion yielded by the two methods are significantly different. Those yielded by the segmented method are significantly lower than those produced by the conventional method. Accordingly, the study supports the hypothesis that inter-segment differences in surface area, skin temperature and rate of movement impact heat balance during locomotion. This has important implications not only for current understanding of heat balance during locomotion in hominins but also for how future research on this topic should be approached.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Tools and change: The shift from atlatl to bow on the British Columbia plateau

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

This thesis presents analyses focused on determining the function of projectile points from the Plateau Cultural area of British Columbia, including use of Shott’s (1997) method designed to classify projectile points as either atlatl darts or arrows. A total of 1065 projectile points recovered from archaeological contexts throughout the Plateau, spanning the Middle through Late Prehistoric periods, were examined. While Nesikep, Lochnore and Lehman style points were classified primarily as dart points and the Kamloops horizon points predominantly as arrow points, Shuswap and Plateau horizon groups were identified as containing points from both systems. This suggests that the two technologies coexisted for many hundreds of years and that the bow and arrow was in use on the Plateau much earlier than previously believed. A discussion of the implications of this and possible factors that influenced and affected people’s decision to choose one projectile system over the other is included.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
K
Department: 
Dept. of Archaeology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Pointing it out: fluted projectile point distributions and early human populations in Saskatchewan

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

This study investigates early Paleo-Indian expansion into Saskatchewan as reflected by the distribution of fluted projectile points compared to Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene environmental changes. With an assemblage consisting solely of fluted point surface finds, this study consists of a geographic distribution analysis. An initial study of Saskatchewan’s fluted projectile points, conducted in 1966 by Tom Kehoe, made use of information from the then known database, consisting of a mere 36 artifacts. The current study examines the modern database of 78 specimens and discusses the distributions of the three separate types of fluted points found in Saskatchewan and the validity of applying terms (Clovis, Folsom, and Northwestern) derived outside the province to them. Not only does Saskatchewan’s assemblage reflect distributional differences between each fluted point type as a result of late Pleistocene/early Holocene environmental changes, but it shows typological similarities to assemblages elsewhere and changes in a time progressive manner.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
K
Department: 
Dept. of Archaeology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Material life and socio-cultural transformation among Asian transmigrants at a Fraser River salmon cannery

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

This study is a comparison of the material lives of first generation Chinese labourers and Japanese fishermen at a salmon cannery along the Fraser River in British Columbia, ca. 1900-1930. The objective is to explore the nature of cultural persistence and change among migrant groups using a contextual approach that incorporates multiple data sources, considerations of structure and agency, and local and international scales of analysis. Analysis and interpretation are framed within a perspective rooted in the study of material consumption and the twin concepts of transnationalism and diaspora. Data used in this study are derived from archaeological excavation of ethnically segregated work camps at the Ewen Cannery, in combination with archival sources, historical research, and excavation results from similar sites in Western North America. Particular emphasis is on subsets of the archaeological data relating to dining and beverage consumption, with additional consideration of dress and other domestic and work habits. Results indicate Japanese fishermen combined traditional meals with meals comprised wholly or in part of Western-style foods, whereas Chinese cannery workers favoured traditional meals almost exclusively. The Chinese site is also characterized by a lack of diversity in the ceramic assemblage. Both groups, however, consumed a variety of locally produced alcoholic beverages and those imported from Europe and Asia. These behaviours are linked to contrasting patterns of labour contracting at each camp in conjunction with processes of Westernization in the homeland. Evidence suggests unique patterns of continuity and change for Chinese and Japanese workers at the Ewen Cannery that include significant parallels and contrasts. These patterns are rooted in local circumstances and ongoing relations with a homeland that was itself a source of both static memory and dynamic transformation. The significance of this research is both empirical and theoretical. It represents the first systematic attempt to compare archaeological assemblages associated with Chinese and Japanese migrants, and is to date the most in-depth archaeological study of first generation Japanese in North America outside of a relocation centre context. Finally, it presents an interpretive framework applicable to comparative studies of other migrant groups.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
R
Department: 
Dept. of Archaeology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

The zooarchaeology of great house sites in the San Juan Basin of the American Southwest

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

This dissertation considers animal remains from great houses in the San Juan Basin of the American Southwest. The archaeofauna from an outlying great house, Albert Porter Pueblo in the central Mesa Verde region, occupied between Pueblo II and III (A.D. 1020-1280), indicates that turkey increased in importance over time compared to cottontails. Artiodactyls are not common in the assemblage, suggesting continuous hunting pressure on large game. Only subtle differences were noted between faunas from the great house when compared to residential units. Most notably, turkeys are more common in the great house during all time periods compared to surrounding residences. Ritual animals were located in all contexts, suggesting that everyone in the settlement had access to ceremonies. The mounds from Pueblo Bonito, a great house in Chaco Canyon dating to Pueblo II (A.D. 1050-1105) were recently re-excavated by reopening Neil Judd’s excavations from the 1920s. The fauna from the mounds is dominated by cottontails. The frequency of deer in the assemblage is similar to other Classic Bonito faunas from Chaco Canyon. The overall composition of the fauna is similar to other great houses and small sites within Chaco Canyon. Most of the artiodactyl remains are from young animals, a pattern that is consistent with intensive hunting. A regional overview of faunas dating from Basketmaker II to Pueblo III (A.D. 1-1300) indicates that cottontails increased over time, whereas artiodactyls decline. Turkey became important in the northern San Juan Basin during Pueblo III. A number of processes resulted in variations in animal usage over time. Highly prized artiodactyls were intensively hunted as human populations grew over time. Some taxa are associated with particular environments. For example, conditions in the northern San Juan Basin favour cottontails and turkeys, whereas in the drier southern portions, jackrabbits are more common. Economic and ritual usage of animals at great houses in the San Juan Basin was similar to that at contemporaneous settlements. No evidence was found to contradict the interpretation that farming communities in the San Juan Basin were organised by a peer-polity form of interaction during Pueblo II and III.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
J
Department: 
Dept. of Archaeology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

The socio-economic role of salt in Northern Highland Ethiopia

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

Salt is a known cross-cultural item of early trade with documented socio-political consequences. Written records on the Ethiopian salt industry go back at least 2,000 years. This dissertation is an ethnoarchaeological investigation of the socio-economic role of the salt trade in northern Ethiopia. Ethnoarchaeological methods are used to explore all aspects of the salt trade in an attempt to provide a basis to understand the role of salt as an economic item, in socio-cultural developments as well as aid the interpretation of the archaeological record. Conducted in the Tigrai and Afar regions of northern Ethiopia, this study identifies groups involved in the salt industry and confirms that the salt trade is vibrant. Aspects of the technology used to extract, transport, and process salt, remain unchanged from what was described by earlier visitors to Ethiopia. While some archaeological correlates of the salt trade such as ropes, skins and plant material may not preserve, stones used to sharpen axes, and metal axes used to extract and shape salt would likely preserve. The remains of pack animals used to transport salt may also preserve. Overall, the salt trade would leave a thin footprint in the archaeological record. Socially, the results of this study suggest that participation in the salt trade confers wealth, which may be used to gain and maintain social status today, a benefit that could have been the same in the past.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
C
Department: 
Dept. of Archaeology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)