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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2018 / Collagen stable isotopes provide insights into the end of the mammoth steppe in the central East European plains during the Epigravettian

D. G. Drucker, R.S. Stevens, M. Germonpré, M.V. Sablin, S. Péan and H. Bocherens (2018)

Collagen stable isotopes provide insights into the end of the mammoth steppe in the central East European plains during the Epigravettian

Quaternary Research, 90:457-469.

Higher δ15N values in bone collagen of mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) compared with coeval large herbivores is a classic trait of the mammoth steppe. An exception applies to the Epigravettian site of Mezhyrich (ca. 18–17.4 ka cal BP) in the central East European plains, where mammoth bones have δ15N values equivalent to or in a lower range than those of horse specimens (Equus sp.). We expanded our preliminary dataset to a larger sampling size of mammoth, other large herbivores, and carnivores from contemporaneous and nearby sites of Buzhanka 2, Eliseevichi, and Yudinovo. The unusual low mammoth δ15N values were confirmed at Buzhanka 2 and for some specimens from Eliseevichi, while most individuals from Yudinovo displayed the expected high δ15N values, meaning similar to those of the large canids. The possibility of a contrast in migration pattern is not supported since the δ34S values, a marker of mobility, do not correlate with the δ15N values of mammoth bone collagen. No clear chronological tendency could be revealed, at least not at the scale of radiocarbon dating. The low range in δ15N values is likely to reflect a change in the specific niche of the mammoth in the southern part of its distribution.
Peer Review, International Redaction Board, Impact Factor
Fossils, Climate change, pleistocene, palaeoecology, diet, Pléistocène supérieur

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