Chapter

Why Were Northern Fur Seals Spared in Northern California? A Cultural and Archaeological Explanation

Adrian R. Whitaker and William R. Hildebrandt

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520267268.003.0009
Why Were Northern Fur Seals Spared in Northern California? A Cultural and Archaeological Explanation

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The biogeography of northern fur seals has been of interest throughout their prehistoric range, which stretched from southern California to the Bering Sea. This chapter traces the history of pinniped hunting in Northern California and examines the record from Stone Lagoon. It analyzes the evidence for continuous hunting of large sea lions up to European contact and offers an explanation for the continued hunting of otariids in northern California despite the fact that some of these pinnipeds were no longer hunted in central California and parts of Oregon. The culture history of northwestern California is broken into three general periods: the Borax Pattern (7000–3500 cal BP), the Mendocino Pattern (3500–1500 cal BP), and the Gunther Pattern (1500–150 cal BP). With the exception of one site dating to the Borax Lake Period, all coastal sites in the northwestern portion of the state date to either the Mendocino or Gunther Patterns. This chapter examines these two patterns in order to establish the timing of the initial hunting of sea lions in the region.

Keywords: Northern California; biogeography; northern fur seals; hunting; Stone Lagoon; pinnipeds; otariids; sea lions; Mendocino Pattern; Gunther Pattern

Chapter.  11566 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences

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