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Conservation Biology and Applied Zooarchaeology

Steve Wolverton

Publication Year: 2012

Until now, the research of applied zooarchaeologists has not had a significant impact on the work of conservation scientists. This book is designed to show how zooarchaeology can productively inform conservation science. Conservation Biology and Applied Zooarchaeology offers a set of case studies that use animal remains from archaeological and paleontological sites to provide information that has direct implications for wildlife management and conservation biology. It introduces conservation biologists to zooarchaeology, a sub-field of archaeology and ethnobiology, and provides a brief historical account of the development of applied zooarchaeology.

The case studies, which utilize palaeozoological data, cover a variety of animals and environments, including the marine ecology of shellfish and fish, potential restoration sites for Sandhill Cranes, freshwater mussel biogeography and stream ecology, conservation of terrestrial mammals such as American black bears, and even a consideration of the validity of the Pleistocene “rewilding” movement. The volume closes with an important new essay on the history, value, and application of applied zooarchaeology by R. Lee Lyman, which updates his classic 1996 paper that encouraged zooarchaeologists to apply their findings to present-day environmental challenges.

Each case study provides detailed analysis using the approaches of zooarchaeology and concludes with precise implications for conservation biology. Essays also address issues of political and social ecology, which have frequently been missing from the discussions of conservation scientists. As the editors note, all conservation actions occur in economic, social, and political contexts. Until now, however, the management implications of zooarchaeological research have rarely been spelled out so clearly.

Published by: University of Arizona Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

I have wanted to compile and edit a book on applied zooarchaeology for several years, and in 2010 the time was ripe. Charles Randklev and I decided to organize a conference session on applied zooarchaeology, and we chose the Society of Ethnobiology conference as a venue. A growing frustration that I share with several chapter authors is that applied zooarchaeologists ...

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1. Introduction to Applied Zooarchaeology

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pp. 1-22

Applied zooarchaeology is the study of zooarchaeological data sets to provide temporal information on biological and cultural changes and conditions relevant to conservation science (Frazier 2007a; Hadly and Barnosky 2009; Lyman 1996, 2006a; Lyman and Cannon 2004a). Typically, zooarchaeological collections are conceived as sets of ancient animal remains ...

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2. Zooarchaeological Evidence for Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) Breeding in Northwestern Washington State

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pp. 23-41

Some years ago British paleobiologist John Stewart (2004:42) suggested that zooarchaeological data for birds might help “reconstruct the so-called ‘natural’ condition of [an area’s] avifauna of the past”; thus those data should “be reported to organizations which determine conservation policy.” Stewart was too understated; in my view, paleo-ornithological ...

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3. Archaeological Freshwater Mussel Remains and Their Use in the Conservation of an Imperiled Fauna

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pp. 42-67

Freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionoida) are one of the most endangered faunas in the world. As sessile gill breathers and filter feeders, they are sensitive to siltation and other forms of water pollution. Their life cycle includes a parasitic stage on host fishes; larvae (glochidia) attach to fish for a period of metamorphosis, after which juvenile mussels drop to ...

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4. Prehistoric Biogeography and Conservation Status of Threatened Freshwater Mussels (Mollusca: Unionidae) in the Upper Trinity River Drainage, Texas

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pp. 68-91

Historically, North America contained the most diverse and abundant population of freshwater mussels in the world, with nearly 300 species (Neves 1993). Unfortunately, habitat destruction stemming from sedimentation, impoundment of streams and rivers, release of environmental contaminants, and the introduction of invasive species has reduced this number (Lydeard et al. 2004; Neck 1982a; Strayer 1999). ...

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5. Ancient Actions Predict Modern Consequences Prehistoric Lessons in Marine Shellfish Exploitation

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pp. 92-109

Human population growth and coastal development the world over are threats to marine biodiversity. Modern conservation efforts focus on elucidating the phenomena that mediate maintenance, loss, and restoration of biodiversity. The high degree of interdependence between these phenomena requires conservation efforts to focus on the community and ...

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6. The Overkill Hypothesis and Conservation Biology

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pp. 110-138

The overkill hypothesis was originally proposed more than 40 years ago as an explanation for the extinction of North American Pleistocene megafauna (Martin 1967; Mosimann and Martin 1975). The hypothesis states that when people arrived in the Americas, they hunted all the megafauna (mammals of ≥44 kg adult body weight) to extinction. By the 1980s the ...

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7. Paleozoological Stable Isotope Data for Modern Management of Historically Extirpated Missouri Black Bears (Ursus americanus)

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pp. 139-156

Prior to the twentieth century, black bears (Ursus americanus) roamed the North American landscape in abundance. Their range reached as far south as northern Mexico and as far north as Alaska (Pelton 2000). But as human population soared to unprecedented numbers during the Industrial Revolution, black bear populations began to dwindle. ...

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8. Rockfish in the Long View Applied Zooarchaeology and Conservation of Pacific Red Snapper (Genus Sebastes) in Southern California

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pp. 157-178

Rockfishes (genus Sebastes) are a diverse group comprising nearly 100 species of finfish that occupy almost every coastal habitat along the northeast Pacific (Love et al. 2002). They have been exploited by coastal peoples for thousands of years, and are sold and consumed today under the moniker Pacific red snapper. Commercial rockfish fisheries began ...

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9. The Past, Present, and Future of Small Terrestrial Mammals in Human Diets

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pp. 179-207

Sustainable use of bushmeat game is an important issue for conservation biology. In some areas wild game is a major food source for subsistence hunters and farmers. The need for sustainable hunting is urgent as formerly thinly populated landscapes witness substantial human population growth, with accompanying expansions in the demand for meat and the ...

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10. Applied Zooarchaeology History, Value, and Use

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pp. 208-232

Zooarchaeology has been around at least since remains of Pleistocene taxa now extinct were identified and used in 1858–1859 to determine that there was a human history that predated the biblical chronology (Grayson 1983; Van Riper 1993). Morlot’s (1861) synopsis of European archaeology published by the Smithsonian includes several references to ...

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About the Contributors

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pp. 233-235

Kristine M. Bovy is an associate professor of anthropology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Rhode Island. She is interested in the use of zooarchaeological data to address contemporary environmental issues in coastal settings. Thus far her work has focused on the effects of human hunting, climate change, and tectonic ...


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pp. 237-241

E-ISBN-13: 9780816599295
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816521135

Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2012