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The Holocene occurrence of Acipenser spp. in the southern North Sea: the archaeological record
In: Journal of Fish Biology. Fisheries Society of the British Isles: London,New York,. ISSN 0022-1112; e-ISSN 1095-8649
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 294395 [ OMA ]

    Acipenser oxyrinchus Mitchill, 1815 [WoRMS]; Acipenser sturio Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    archaeozoology; zoogeography

Authors  Top 
  • Thieren, E.
  • Ervynck, A.
  • Brinkhuizen, D.
  • Locker, A.
  • Van Neer, W.

    Archaeological sturgeon remains from the southern North Sea basin used to be automatically attributed to Acipenser sturio, since this was the only acipenserid species believed to occur there. These species identifications, however, were in need of revision after a growing number of indications were found for the historical presence of Acipenser oxyrinchus in western Europe. In this study, morphological and genetic data on sturgeon remains from archaeological sites along the southern North Sea are revised. A large number of Dutch, Belgian, British and some French archaeological sturgeon remains, dating from the Mesolithic up to Late Modern times, are morphologically examined and fish sizes are reconstructed. This study of >7000 acipenserid bones proves the sympatric occurrence of European sturgeon A. sturio and Atlantic sturgeon A. oxyrinchus in the southern North Sea at least since the Neolithic (fourth millennium BC onwards), with A. oxyrinchus remains always outnumbering those of A. sturio. Human influence is documented by the decrease in finds through time, but no clear evidence was found for a diachronic change in fish lengths that could possibly be related to fishing pressure.

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