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dc.contributor.authorSponheimer, M.B.
dc.contributor.authorLee-Thorp, Julia A.
dc.date.accessioned2009-11-10T08:19:58Z
dc.date.available2009-11-10T08:19:58Z
dc.date.issued2006
dc.identifier.citationSponheimer, M.B. and Lee-Thorp, J.A. (2006). Enamel Diagenesis at South African Australopith Sites: Implications for Paleoecological Reconstruction With Trace Elements. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. Vol. 70, No. 7, pp. 1644-1654.en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10454/3878
dc.descriptionNoen
dc.description.abstractElemental ratio data from archaeological and paleontological bone have often been used for paleoecological reconstruction, but recent studies have shown that, even when solubility profiling techniques are employed in an attempt to recover biogenic signals, bone is an unreliable material. As a result, there has been renewed interest in using enamel for such studies, as it is known to be less susceptible to diagenesis. Nevertheless, enamel is not immune from diagenetic processes, and several studies have suggested that paleoecologically relevant elements may be altered in fossil enamel. Here, we investigate Sr, Ba, Zn, and Pb compositions of enamel from South African karstic cave sites in an effort to ascertain whether or not this material provides reliable paleoecological information. We compared enamel data for mammals from three fossil sites aged 1.8¿3.0 Ma, all of which are on dolomites, with data from modern mammals living on dolomitic and granitic substrates. Sr/Ca and Ba/Ca are about three times higher in enamel from modern mammals on granites than those living on dolomites, stressing the need for geologically appropriate modern/fossil comparisons. After pretreatment with dilute acid, we found no evidence of increased Sr/Ca, Ba/Ca, or Pb/Ca in fossil enamel. In contrast, Zn/Ca increased by over five times at one site (Makapansgat), but much more subtly elsewhere. Ecological patterning in Sr/Ca, Ba/Ca, and Sr/Ba ratios was also retained in fossil enamel. This study suggests that Sr/Ca, Ba/Ca, and Pb/Ca data likely preserve paleoecological information from these sites, but also demonstrates that geologically similar sites can differ in the degree to which they impart certain elements (Zn in this case) to fossils. Thus, screening is probably necessary on a site-by-site basis. Lastly, further investigation of elemental distributions in modern foodwebs is necessary before elemental ratio analysis can become a common tool for paleoecological reconstruction.en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.relation.isreferencedbyhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2005.12.002en
dc.subjectPaleoecological reconstruction,en
dc.subjectEnamelen
dc.subjectBoneen
dc.subjectFossil enamelen
dc.titleEnamel Diagenesis at South African Australopith Sites: Implications for Paleoecological Reconstruction With Trace Elements,en
dc.status.refereedYesen
dc.typeArticleen
dc.type.versionNo full-text available in the repositoryen


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