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Egypt. J. Exp. Biol. (Zoo.). 2015; 11(2): 143-149


HAIR NITROGEN ISOTOPIC COMPOSITIONS AS A DIETARY INDICATOR OF THE PROTEIN INTAKE IN THE KULUBNARTI NUBIAN POPULATION

Nagui H. Fares, Moushira E. Zaki, Wafaa A. Kandeel, Andrew T. Chamberlain, Walaa A. Basha.

Abstract
Hair samples from naturally desiccated Nubian mummies (subadults and adults) have been analysed for their nitrogen isotope ratios. These mummies are extracted from two Christian cemeteries (AD 550800) located on the island of Kulubnarti about 130 Km south of Wadi Halfa in Sudanese Nubia. The present study complements the earlier paleodietary profile of the Kulubnarti population. Forty hair samples were available for nitrogen isotopic analysis using Continuous Flow-Elemental Analysis-Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (CF-EA-IRMS). From the total number of the analysed hair samples, 4 hair strands were longer than 2 cm and therefore could be used to in fer temporal variations of the dietary protein. The results of the nitrogen isotope analysis indicating a relatively low consumption of protein from animal sources. Additionally, no protein from aquatic sources has been consumed. The results also showed no significant differences between the two cemeteries, suggesting no differences in the dietary protein and consequently in the quality of the diet. A wide range from 5.8 to 12.2 in the nitrogen isotope composition has been found in the present study which could indicate the variations in the type of the plant protein consumed. Moreover, the variability in the nitrogen isotope values is high in the S cemetery compared to R cemetery. The S- cemetery juveniles were depleted in the nitrogen isotopic composition.

Key words: Hair, nitrogen isotopie analysis, Sudanese Nibian, paleodiet



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