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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022 / Stable isotopes unveil one millennium of domestic cat paleoecology in Europe

Magdalena Krajcarz, Wim Van Neer, Maciej Krajcarz, Danijela Popović, Mateusz Baca, Bea De Cupere, Quentin Goffette, Hans Küchelmann, Anna Gręzak, Urszula Iwaszczuk, Claudio Ottoni, Katrien Van de Vijver, Jarosław Wilczyński, Anna Mulczyk, Jan Wiejacki, Daniel Makowiecki, and Hervé Bocherens (2022)

Stable isotopes unveil one millennium of domestic cat paleoecology in Europe

Scientific Reports, 12(1):12775.

The domestic cat is the world's most popular pet and one of the most detrimental predators in terrestrial ecosystems. Effective protection of wildlife biodiversity demands detailed tracking of cat trophic ecology, and stable isotopes serve as a powerful proxy in dietary studies. However, a variable diet can make an isotopic pattern unreadable in opportunistic predators. To evaluate the usefulness of the isotopic method in cat ecology, we measured C and N isotope ratios in hundreds of archaeological cat bones. We determined trends in cat trophic paleoecology in northern Europe by exploiting population-scale patterns in animals from diverse locations. Our dataset shows a high variability of isotopic signals related to the socio-economic and/or geomorphological context. This points toward regularities in isotopic patterns across past cat populations. We provide a generalized guide to interpret the isotopic ecology of cats, emphasizing that regional isotopic baselines have a major impact on the isotopic signal.

PDF available, Open Access, Impact Factor, Peer Review, International Redaction Board
  • DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-16969-8
  • ISSN: 2045-2322
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