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Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2002;16(23):2195-200.

Stable isotope (13C, 15N and 34S) analysis of the hair of modern humans and their domestic animals.

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Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, North Wyke, Okehampton EX20 2SB, UK.


Relationships between dietary status and recent migration were examined by delta(13)C, delta(15)N and delta(34)S analysis of hair samples from 43 modern humans living in a rural community in SW England. The isotopic content of 38 'local' hair samples was compared with that of five recently arrived individuals (from Canada, Chile, Germany and the USA). Hair samples from domestic animals (i.e. mainly cats, dogs, cows and horses) were analysed to examine the difference in delta(13)C, delta(15)N and delta(34)S values between herbivores and carnivores. Generally, modern human hair data from the triple stable isotope (delta(13)C, delta(15)N and delta(34)S) provided enough information to confirm the dietary status and origin of the individual subjects. The dietary intake was generally reflected in the animal hair delta(15)N and delta(13)C values, i.e. highest in the carnivores (cats). However, a non-local origin of food sources given to domesticated omnivores (i.e. dogs) was suggested by their hair delta(34)S values.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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