Diet of pre-Columbian societies in the Brazilian Amazon reconstructed

Picture: The archaeological web site of Bacanga at São Luís Island.
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Credit score: André Colonese

An intercontinental review led by the Institute of Environmental Science and Technological innovation (ICTA-UAB) and the Department of Prehistory at the UAB has reconstructed the diet plans of pre-Columbian groups on the Amazon coastline of Brazil, displaying that tropical agroforestry was regionally variable.

Through the earlier couple of many years, there has been an elevated interest in the origin and evolution of pre-Columbian economies in the Amazon. Nevertheless, the paucity of human remains from this period of time has confined our knowing of the contribution of crops, terrestrial animals and fish to personal diet plans and, consequently, their job in supporting inhabitants growth and cultural modifications in this area ahead of European call.

This new review, published in Scientific Stories, utilized steady isotopic analysis and Bayesian Mixing Models to reconstruct the diet plans of human folks living together the Brazilian Amazon coastline among one,000 and one,800 yrs in the past.

They uncovered that regardless of the proximity to marine assets and the evidence of fishing, diet plans ended up based mostly primarily on terrestrial crops and animals. Land mammals and crops ended up the main resources of caloric ingestion. Land animals ended up also the main supply of nutritional protein, as opposed to fish.

Amid the taxonomically determined animals, they uncovered rodents this kind of as paca, cavia or cutia, a brocket deer and catfish. In the late Holocene a substantial selection of wild and cultivated crops this kind of as cassava, corn, squash, between other people, ended up consumed.

“The final results get in touch with into query the widespread assumption that fish was the main financial component and the major supply of protein between pre-Columbian populations living in proximity to aquatic environments in lowland Amazonia”, says Colonese. He provides that the final results reveal these populations devoted substantial attempts to hunting, forest management and plant cultivation.

“Our review delivers unparalleled quantitative info on the extent to which distinctive food stuff groups from agroforestry methods fulfilled the caloric and protein demands of populations in the pre-Columbian Amazon, and corroborates the expanding consensus that these diversified subsistence economies fuelled cultural, demographic and environmental transformations in the eastern Amazon basin through the Late Holocene.”


The study, carried out in the framework of the European Study Council (ERC) funded project Custom, relied on the collaboration of an intercontinental team of researchers from the College of Groningen, the Netherlands the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human Background, Germany the College of Oxford and the College of York, Uk Masaryk College, Czech Republic and the Instituto Ambiente Humano and the Universidade Federal do Maranhão, Brazil.

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