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Pascal programs for computing taxonomic abundance in samples of fossil mammals

Authors
Journal
Journal of Archaeological Science
0305-4403
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
13
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/0305-4403(86)90006-3
Keywords
  • Zooarchaeology
  • Faunal Analysis
  • Computers In Archaeology
Disciplines
  • Mathematics

Abstract

Abstract The number of identified specimens (NISP) and the minimum number of individuals (MNI) are the two most widely used measures of taxonomic abundance in samples of fossil bones. Each has disadvantages which can be largely offset when the two are used together and when both are calculated and presented for each skeletal part of each taxon in a sample. However, joint use does not reduce the tedium and likelihood of error involved in MNI calculation, or affect the possibility that MNIs may not be comparable among samples, because different analysts employ different and often vague calculation assumptions. The integrated Pascal computer programs described in this article dramatically cut the time and effort involved in MNI calculation, while simultaneously reducing the likelihood of calculation error. They also ensure that calculation is based on explicit, though flexible assumptions. Finally, they provide an inexpensive and compact way to store and retrieve bone data for manipulation by other programs.

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