The Late Pleistocene Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus, Linnaeus, 1758) of Britain and Western Europe: Past migrations, Seasonality and Palaeodiet. / Wiesendanger, Emily.

2020.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Unpublished

Documents

  • E.C.Wiesendanger PhD Thesis 2020

    Other version, 10.2 MB, PDF document

    Embargo ends: 17/07/23

  • SD1 Late Pleistocene Material Britain

    Other version, 252 KB, application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet

    Embargo ends: 17/07/23

  • SD2 Late Pleistocene Material Belgium

    Other version, 105 KB, application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet

    Embargo ends: 17/07/23

  • SD3 Late Pleistocene Material Denmark

    Other version, 76.9 KB, application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet

    Embargo ends: 17/07/23

  • SD4 Late Pleistocene Material France

    Other version, 40.3 KB, application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet

    Embargo ends: 17/07/23

  • SD5 Late Pleistocene Material Germany

    Other version, 83.8 KB, application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet

    Embargo ends: 17/07/23

  • SD6 Late Pleistocene Material Switzerland

    Other version, 15.6 KB, application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet

    Embargo ends: 17/07/23

  • SD7 Late Pleistocene Material The Netherlands

    Other version, 27.7 KB, application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet

    Embargo ends: 17/07/23

  • SD8 Late Pleistocene Material Poland

    Other version, 11.2 KB, application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet

    Embargo ends: 17/07/23

  • SD9 Modern and Historical Material

    Other version, 77.9 KB, application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet

    Embargo ends: 17/07/23

  • SD10 Average Estimated Body Mass

    Other version, 121 KB, application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet

    Embargo ends: 17/07/23

  • SD11 Dental Microwear Analysis

    Other version, 25.1 KB, application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet

    Embargo ends: 17/07/23

Abstract

During the last glaciation, reindeer (Rangifer tarandus, Linnaeus, 1758), a highly specialised cold adapted ungulate, was extremely common throughout Britain and western Europe, in marked contrast to the Arctic and Subarctic distribution of herds today. This study investigates the palaeobiogeography of this species over a Late Pleistocene temporal transect (c. 82,000-11,700 years BP) and a geographical range across Britain and north-west Europe, to enable the impacts of climatic, environmental and anthropogenic changes on reindeer ecology to be more precisely understood. This is particularly important given the recent global declines in both the body masses and population sizes of modern reindeer and their now vulnerable conservation status.

As bi-annual migrators, reconstructions of reindeer palaeobiogeography were achieved by examining the seasonality of site occupations through the recognition of seasonal aggregations. The selection and development of non-destructive techniques for the ageing and sexing of dental, postcranial and antler remains in this thesis, has demonstrated spatial and temporal variability in the seasonality of site occupations by reindeer, although both migratory and sedentary niches were represented during the Late Pleistocene. In addition to the varying climatic and environmental conditions, this emphasises the importance of the influence of herd-specific factors such as density, snow conditions and human activity on reindeer palaeobiogeography. The impact of these factors was particularly evident from the reconstruction of body masses in modern mountain and forest reindeer, which were then used as the model for reconstructions of Late Pleistocene body mass.

Where multiple seasons of occupation were reconstructed for British sites from the Early (Windy Knoll) and Middle (Kents Cavern and Pin Hole Cave) Devensian, dental microwear analysis was conducted to provide insight into the palaeodiet of reindeer. Forage is an important influence on reindeer migrations and the monthly precision of dentition aged in this study has enabled seasonal variability in the dietary signals of microwear to be identified in both modern and fossil reindeer. For the two Middle Devensian sites, strontium isotope analysis was also conducted on dentition in a pilot study, demonstrating the differing scales of mobility at the two sites.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationPh.D.
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Thesis sponsors
  • Natural Envt Research Council (NERC)
Award date1 Jul 2021
Publication statusUnpublished - 2020

ID: 42712896