Stable isotope analysis of modern human hair collected from Asia (China, India, Mongolia, and Pakistan)


We report isotopic data (δ2H, δ18O n = 196; δ13C, δ15N n = 142; δ34S n = 85) from human hair and drinking water (δ2H, δ18O n = 67) collected across China, India, Mongolia, and Pakistan. Hair isotope ratios reflected the large environmental isotopic gradients and dietary differences. Geographic information was recorded in H and O and to a lesser extent, S isotopes. H and O data were entered into a recently developed model describing the relationship between the H and O isotope composition of human hair and drinking water in modern USA and pre-globalized populations. This has anthropological and forensic applications including reconstructing environment and diet in modern and ancient human hair. However, it has not been applied to a modern population outside of the USA, where we expect different diet. Relationships between H and O isotope ratios in drinking water and hair of modern human populations in Asia were different to both modern USA and pre-globalized populations. However, the Asian dataset was closer to the modern USA than to pre-globalized populations. Model parameters suggested slightly higher consumption of locally producedfoods in our sampled population than modern USA residents, but lower than pre-globalized populations. The degree of in vivo amino acid synthesis was comparable to both the modern USA and pre-globalized populations. C isotope ratios reflected the predominantly C3-based regional agriculture and C4 consumption in northernChina. C, N, and S isotope ratios supported marine food consumption in some coastal locales. N isotope ratios suggested a relatively low consumption of animal-derived products compared to western populations. Am J Phys Anthropol 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


hair keratin, stable isotope, asia

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