A new study from Australian National University (ANU) has revealed new insights on old fishing throughout history, including what kind…
The study looked at the fish legs upgraded in an archeological lawn on the Indonesian island of Alor – home to the world’s oldest fish hooks ever found at a human burial site dating back to about 12,000 years.
Leadershipologist Sofia Samper Carro at the ANU School of Archeology and Anthropology, said at the study, identified a shifting fishing behavior about 7000 years ago.
“People on the Alor people fish for open waters around 20,000 years ago, since about 7000 years ago they only started fishing for the reef,” she said.
Dr Samper Carro said that a similar pattern was identified on the nearby island of Timor, indicating that the change in behavior was due to environmental conditions.
“It seems to be due to changes in sea levels and environmental conditions, although human induced changes can not be ruled out,” she said.
The results were made using an assay method traditionally used in biology to identify the aquatic habitat of archeological material. Dr Samper Carro said she had to experiment with a new approach due to the difficulty in determining the difference between the very similar jaws in the area’s 2000 known species.
“This study is the first time researchers have been able to reliably determine the habitat of the fish using the spine through this method and represent a significant step forward in order to track human behavior in history,” said Dr. Samper Carro.
“Most of the bones you find in archeological sites are spinal cord, which is very complicated to identify species and all look very similar.
“If we do not know the species, we do not know their habitat.”
“In Indonesia, you have more than 2000 species of fish, so to know which bones belong to what species you would need 2,000 fish species in your comparative collection.
“I probably spent five months trying to match each fishery to one species and I think I came through 1
00 f 9000 legs so I needed to find another method.”
Dr Samper Carro turned instead to geometric morphometry, a process that looks at small differences in size and shape of physical objects. By using more than 20,000 digital images and plotting 31 points on each leg, she was able to digitally identify the likely habitat of each vertebra.
Material provided by Australian National University . Note! Content can be edited for style and length.