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Durham University

Department of Anthropology

Academic Staff

Publication details for Professor Sarah Elton

Louys, J., Ditchfield, P., Meloro, C., Elton, S. & Bishop, L.C. (2012). Stable isotopes provide independent support for the use of mesowear variables for inferring diets in African antelopes. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 279(1746): 4441-4446.

Author(s) from Durham


We examine the relationship between mesowear variables and carbon and nitrogen isotopes in 16 species of African antelope (Mammalia: Bovidae). We show significant differences in carbon and nitrogen isotope values between individuals exhibiting sharp versus round cusps, and high versus low occlusal relief. We show significant correlations between mesowear variables and both carbon and nitrogen isotopes. We find significant correlations between mesowear score and nitrogen, but not carbon isotopes. Finally, we find no significant correlations between hypsodonty index and either isotope examined. Our results provide strong support for the use of mesowear variables in palaeodietary reconstructions of antelopes. Our results further suggest that for the antelopes examined here, mesowear signals are a direct result of diet, while hyposodonty may be the result of phylogenetic legacy.