An Analysis of Seal, Sea Lion, and Sea Otter Consumption Patterns on Sanak Island, Alaska

Veronica Lech, Matthew W. Betts and Herbert D. C. Maschner

in Human Impacts on Seals, Sea Lions, and Sea Otters

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780520267268
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948976 | DOI:
An Analysis of Seal, Sea Lion, and Sea Otter Consumption Patterns on Sanak Island, Alaska

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This chapter analyzes element and cut mark frequencies to determine the response of Aleut processing and transport strategies to variations in marine mammal abundance. It argues that during times of declining encounter rates for large-bodied marine mammals, the inhabitants of Sanak Island exploited marine mammal carcasses more intensively, an activity that should be detectable in element distributions, cut mark location, and cut mark intensity. Frequencies of marine mammal remains in the last four temporal contexts in the Sanak Island sequence appear to be linked to climatic and population shifts. This chapter focuses on the latter half of the post-Neoglacial to speculate on the relationship between climate changes and their impact on consumption strategies in marine mammals such as seals, sea lions, and sea otters. The findings illustrate the importance of investigating patterns of marine mammal transport and butchery as part of historical ecological analyses.

Keywords: Sanak Island; marine mammals; seals; sea lions; sea otters; consumption; butchery; post-Neoglacial; climate changes; population shifts

Chapter.  7944 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences

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