Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses of bones and teeth at the ancestral heritage Muwekma Ohlone site of Yakmuy ‘Ooyákma-tka (“Place of the East Ridge Site”; CA-SCL-215) reveal significant differences in the dietary life history of males and females. Overall, isotope data indicate that site inhabitants were primarily dependent on low trophic-level foods, likely plants, and minor amounts of marine food for their main source of dietary protein. From tooth dentin serial samples, we found that males were elevated by 0.6-1.0‰ in δ15N in early childhood (age 1-9 years) relative to females, while δ13C values were similar by sex, indicating boys were accessing slightly greater amounts of higher trophic-level foods, such as meat from game. The sex-biased difference in δ15N diminishes during the second decade of life, as female δ15N values increase and become equal to males. However, a difference in δ13C emerges during the second decade where female δ13C values are elevated relative to males. This could indicate that teenage females consumed higher amounts of low trophic-level, marine-derived protein, such as shellfish. During later adult years, the difference in δ13C disappears, while males again show an increase in δ15N relative to females. Although these differences are small, they reveal important sex-biased life history patterns during childhood and adulthood in this ancient community.
Eerkens, Jelmer W.; Tichinin, Alina; Karapanos, Nikoletta; Campbell-Grey, Alexandra; Firenzi, Alexandria M.; Bartelink, Eric J.; Leventhal, Alan M.; Arellano, Monica V.; and DeOrnellas, Brieann, "Contrasting Male and Female Dietary Life Histories: A Case Study at an Ancestral Muwekma Ohlone Heritage Site in San Jose, California" (2022). Human Biology Open Access Pre-Prints. 199.