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A reevaluation of bird taxonomic identifications at Contact‐ and historic‐era North American sites

TitleA reevaluation of bird taxonomic identifications at Contact‐ and historic‐era North American sites
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsWatson, JE, Ledogar, SHeins
JournalInternational Journal of Osteoarchaeology
Volume29
Issue5
Pagination822 - 830
ISSN1047-482X
Abstract

Domestic chickens (Gallus domesticus) and turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) are identified more frequently than other bird species in bone assemblages from historic sites in North America. Recent studies on the effectiveness of metric data for identification of galliform bones found high degrees of similarity in size and morphology between wild game birds (e.g., grouse and ptarmigan) and multiple domestic or introduced species (e.g., chicken and pheasant). This finding suggests that wild taxa and less common domesticates may have been misidentified as chicken and as a result are underrepresented in these historic datasets. In this paper, we evaluate the precision of bird taxonomic identifications from five Contact‐ and historic‐era sites in New York State, comparing the initial taxon designations recorded in site reports with our new identifications derived from a combination of comparative morphological and osteometric analyses. After our analysis of the assemblages, game bird diversity at most of the sites expanded, as did the prevalence of other orders (e.g., Anseriformes and Strigiformes). The updated identifications highlight the diversity of birds used in historic contexts and the importance of combining multiple analytical methods to increase accuracy.
 

URLhttps://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full-xml/10.1002/oa.2799
DOI10.1002/oa.v29.510.1002/oa.2799
Short TitleInt J Osteoarchaeol