Assessing the Predictability of Existing Water-to-Enamel Geolocation Models Against Known Human Teeth

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Author: Ueda, Momoko
Stable isotope analysis of human tissues has become a valuable tool for mapping human geolocation. This study adds to the existing knowledge of the relationship between oxygen stable isotopes in human enamel and drinking water by presenting enamel oxygen values in clinic-extracted human dental enamel with known provenance. The results from this study indicate that the theoretical isotopic relationship between enamel and drinking water oxygen is weak at the city and country-level. Differences of up to 15‰ were observed between predicted drinking water oxygen values using existing models and observed values, highlighting the complexity of using water/enamel conversion equations. The lower isotopic boundary of enamel oxygen values is now understood for Metro Vancouver at δ18Oc(VPDB) = – 11.0‰ and presents the possibility of using stable isotope analysis as an exclusionary tool where individuals falling below threshold value can be identified as non-local. Overall, this study's results support the development of geographical reference maps for human enamel oxygen.
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