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Prehistoric Diet in Southwest Texas: The Coprolite Evidence


This report discusses the various kinds of data that are recoverable from the analysis of human coprolites and demonstrates how these techniques are applied to the specific analysis of prehistoric human coprolites recovered from site 41 VV 162 in southwest Texas. The data from these 43 coprolite samples are used to: (1) reconstruct aboriginal diet patterns in southwest Texas between 800 B.C. and A.D. 500; (2) predict specific periods of seasonal site occupancy; (3) distinguish between pollen resulting from the eating of certain plant foods and background pollen resulting from the normal pollen rain; and (4) make limited generalizations concerning the regional paleoenvironment between 800 B.C. and A.D. 500.

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Fred A. Barkley 1934 The statistical theory of pollen analysis. Ecology 15(3):283289.

R. H. Hevly , P. J. Mehringer Jr., and H. G. Yocum 1965 Studies of the modern pollen rain in the Sonoran Desert. Journal ofthe Arizona Academy of Science 3(3):123135.

E. Palmer 1878 Plants used by the Indians of the United States. American Naturalist 12:593606.

Loren D. Potter 1967 Differential pollen accumulation in water-tank sediments and adjacent soils. Ecology 48(6): 10411043.

C. E. Smith , E. O. Callen , H. C. Cutler , W. C. Galinat , L. Kaplan , T. W. Whitaker , and R. A. Yarnell 1966 Bibliography of American archeological plant remains. Economic Botany 20(4):446460.

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American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
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