I’ve been to two days of talks so far. The first day had some really exciting lectures. I also gave my talk on the first day. I talked about how I used stable isotopes (like the mammoth researchers) to figure out the diets of 2,000-year-old elk. I analyzed the teeth of these elk, which were found in an archaeological midden in southeast Wyoming, not too far from Laramie. A midden is an old trash heap used by ancient people. The elk teeth in the midden were the remaining parts of the elk that these people hunted. I was able to show that most of the elk were from the same area (southeast Wyoming), but one elk spent it’s early years pretty far away in a place that was warmer and lower in elevation. This different environment allowed this particular elk to have a different diet: it was eating a lot of grass, while the other elk were mostly eating soft browse (leaves, for example). The one grazing elk must have later migrated into to southeast Wyoming.
Well, that’s it for today. I’ll post again over the weekend with more news about the conference as well as pictures from some of the museums I’ve visited. Have a good weekend!