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An Odontocete (Cetacea) Meat Utility Index

Authors
Journal
Journal of Archaeological Science
0305-4403
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
23
Issue
5
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1006/jasc.1996.0067
Keywords
  • Bone Transport
  • Food Utility Indices
  • Odontocetes
  • Cetaceans
  • Harbour Porpoise
  • Zooarchaeology
Disciplines
  • Archaeology

Abstract

Abstract A meat utility index for odontocetes (Cetacea), based on average flesh weight per skeletal portion of a harbour porpoise ( Phocoena phocoena), is presented. The highest ranked portions are associated with the middle and posterior vertebral column, while the lowest ranked portions are associated with the flippers, head, and anterior part of the vertebral column. The index (including both meat utility values and modified meat utility values) is applied to archaeologically- and ethnoarchaeologically-derived cetacean bone assemblages. Results suggest that while the ease of edible sculp and meat removal may significantly skew expected bone element frequencies, the index (especially that based on modified meat utility values) is nevertheless a useful predictive tool for small, and to some extent medium-sized, cetaceans.

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