Chapter

Stable Carbon and Oxygen Isotope Analysis of Marmot Cheek Teeth from the Pit Locality

Robert S. Feranec

in Biodiversity Response to Climate Change in the Middle Pleistocene

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780520240827
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930858 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520240827.003.0024
Stable Carbon and Oxygen Isotope Analysis of Marmot Cheek Teeth from the Pit Locality

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This chapter reports isotopic signatures of marmot tooth enamel from stratigraphically superposed levels in the Pit locality in hopes of refining correlations and assessing vegetational change as indicated by diet. The carbon isotope values in the enamel of fossil teeth are useful in determining paleodiet because different photosynthetic pathways impart different 13C/12C ratios to different plants, and these ratios are ultimately reflected in the animals that eat the plants. The oxygen isotope composition of the tooth enamel is dependent on the isotopic composition of the water ingested, the consistent fractionation of oxygen isotopes between the body water and the enamel, and the metabolism of the particular animal.

Keywords: isotopic signatures; marmot; Pit locality; vegetational change; diet; carbon isotope; oxygen isotope; metabolism

Chapter.  3105 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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