Palaeoenvironmental and Palaeodietary Implications of Isotopic Biogeochemistry of Last Interglacial Neanderthal and Mammal Bones in Scladina Cave (Belgium)

Hervé Bocherens
Daniel Billiou
André Mariotti

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An isotopic study of upper Pleistocene interglacial mammalian bones from layer 4 of the Scladina cave (Sclayn, Belgium) demonstrated the good quality of conservation of collagen. The extraction protocol had to be modified compared to the usual technique, but the collagen obtained complies with the criteria of isotopic indigeneity. The isotopic abundances of carbon show that the herbivores analyzed lived in a forest environment, while the carnivores analyzed also consumed prey from more open environments. The isotopic carbon and nitrogen compositions of Neanderthals suggest that most of its dietary proteins were supplied by meat from herbivores in an open environment.