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Marcello Mannino

Climate-driven environmental changes around 8,200 years ago favoured increases in cetacean strandings and Mediterranean hunter-gatherers exploited them

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DOI

  • Marcello A. Mannino
  • Sahra Talamo, Max Planck Inst Evolutionary Anthropol, Max Planck Society, Dept Human Evolut
  • ,
  • Antonio Tagliacozzo, Soprintendenza Museo Nazl Preistor & Etnog Luigi
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  • Ivana Fiore, Soprintendenza Museo Nazl Preistor & Etnog Luigi
  • ,
  • Olaf Nehlich, Univ British Columbia, University of British Columbia, Dept Anthropol
  • ,
  • Marcello Piperno, Museo Civ Archeol Biagio Greco
  • ,
  • Sebastiano Tusa, Univ Suor Orsola Benincasa
  • ,
  • Carmine Collina, Museo Civ Archeol Biagio Greco
  • ,
  • Rosaria Di Salvo, Museo Archeol Reg Antonino Salinas
  • ,
  • Vittoria Schimmenti, Museo Archeol Reg Antonino Salinas
  • ,
  • Michael P. Richards, Univ British Columbia, University of British Columbia, Dept Anthropol

Cetacean mass strandings occur regularly worldwide, yet the compounded effects of natural and anthropogenic factors often complicate our understanding of these phenomena. Evidence of past stranding episodes may, thus, be essential to establish the potential influence of climate change. Investigations on bones from the site of Grotta dell'Uzzo in North West Sicily ( Italy) show that the rapid climate change around 8,200 years ago coincided with increased strandings in the Mediterranean Sea. Stable isotope analyses on collagen from a large sample of remains recovered at this cave indicate that Mesolithic hunter-gatherers relied little on marine resources. A human and a red fox dating to the 8.2-kyr-BP climatic event, however, acquired at least one third of their protein from cetaceans. Numerous carcasses should have been available annually, for at least a decade, to obtain these proportions of meat. Our findings imply that climate-driven environmental changes, caused by global warming, may represent a serious threat to cetaceans in the near future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16288
JournalScientific Reports
Volume5
Number of pages12
ISSN2045-2322
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2015

    Research areas

  • BONE-COLLAGEN, MARINE RESOURCES, ISOTOPE EVIDENCE, NORTH-ATLANTIC, VULPES-VULPES, PILOT WHALES, COLD EVENT, SEA, DIVERSITY, DIET

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