Stable isotope chemistry reveals plantdominant diet among early foragers on the Andean Altiplano, 9.0-6.5 cal. ka

Jennifer C. Chen, Mark S. Aldenderfer, Jelmer W. Eerkens, Brie Anna S. Langlie, Carlos Viviano Llave, James T. Watson, Randall Haas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Current models of early human subsistence economies suggest a focus on large mammal hunting. To evaluate this hypothesis, we examine human bone stable isotope chemistry of 24 individuals from the early Holocene sites of Wilamaya Patjxa (9.0-8.7 cal. ka) and Soro Mik'aya Patjxa (8.0-6.5 cal. ka) located at 3800 meters above sea level on the Andean Altiplano, Peru. Contrary to expectation, Bayesian mixing models based on the isotope chemistry reveal that plants dominated the diet, comprising 70-95% of the average diet. Paleoethnobotanical data further show that tubers may have been the most prominent subsistence resource. These findings update our understanding of earliest forager economies and the pathway to agricultural economies in the Andean highlands. The findings furthermore suggest that the initial subsistence economies of early human populations adapting to new landscapes may have been more plant oriented than current models suggest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0296420
JournalPloS one
Volume19
Issue number1 January
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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