chapter  5
Ahead of the curve?
Implications for isolating vertical transhumance in seasonal montane environments using sequential oxygen isotope analyses of tooth enamel
ByTaylor Hermes, Sarah Pederzani, Cheryl A. Makarewicz
Pages 20

Vertical transhumance is a productive strategy used by pastoralists around the world. This type of mobility entails the movement of livestock to pastures located at different elevations, with moves calculated according to local, altitude-dependent availability of pasture growth, and provides a means of optimizing pastoral production to specific environmental conditions. This chapter explores the ways in which oxygen isotopes obtained from incrementally sampled tooth enamel can be used to help identify vertical transhumance in domesticated bovids (sheep, goats, and cattle), livestock that are herded by pastoralists in regions around the world under a variety of environmental conditions. It discusses the importance of deciphering the shape of δ18O curves obtained from incrementally sampled tooth bioapatite as a way to detect the movement of an animal between two locations positioned at different elevations, but receiving meteoric waters with distinct δ18O signatures due to altitudinal fractionation effects.