Taphonomic indicators used to infer wasteful subsistence hunting in northwest Alaska

Edgar O. ESPINOZA, Bonnie C. YATES, Mary-Jacque MANN, Alan R. CRANE, Kenneth W. GODDARD, James P. LeMAY, Kim W. SPECKMAN & Mark A. WEBB

en Anthropozoologica 25-26 - Pages 103-112

Published on 01 June 1998

This article is a part of the thematic issue Proceedings of the 7th ICAZ International Meeting, Constance, September 1994

Subsistence hunting allows the Inupiat and Yupik people to harvest walrus. Hunters pursue walrus at the edge of the receding ice floes, or if the opportunity arises, will shoot walrus in the open water (pelagic hunting). Based on recent 9th District Court decisions, killing walrus and taking only the tusks is a violation of the wastage provision and is penalized by law. Surveys conducted on beaches indicated that some walruses are hunted only for their tusks (headhunting). The determination that the walruses are killed off shore is based on the "clean" appearance of exposed cervical vertebrae caused by arthropod scavenging during carcass drift. The conclusion of wasteful take is based on the examination of headless carcasses that had no meat taken.


Taphonomy, subsistence hunting, wastage, poaching.

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