The Oldest Elk on Vancouver Island

Introduction The elk or wapiti (Cervus canadensis) has long been important to Indigenous peoples as both a source of food, clothing and raw materials and were likely hunted by Indigenous peoples when they first appeared on Vancouver Island. The ancestors of today’s North American elk expanded from Siberia into the new world (Meirav et. al. 2014). They may have taken both inland and coast routes. How long they have existed on Vancouver Island is a subject of interest that has yet to be determined. Could elk have survived on the Island since the last interglacial period? The Changing Climate We do not have much detail on what food resources would be available to elk during the cold periods of the … Continue reading “The Oldest Elk on Vancouver Island”

Mastodon. In the Royal B.C. Museum Collection

By Grant Keddie. 2016. Introduction Included here are notes on three mastodon (Mammut americanum) molars in the Royal B.C. Museum Collection and one private collection specimen. Three are from the South-East Corner of Vancouver Island and one from the Yukon Territory. Two of these have been found in the same locations as a larger number of mammoth remains. Although there are interglacial deposits in the areas where the mastodon remains of southeastern Vancouver were found, most of the fossil bearing layers have been deposited in front of the advancing glaciers during cold conditions between about 22,000 and 18,000 years ago. Later around 16,000 to 15,000 years ago ice sheets from the Fraser glaciation passed over the area depositing layers of … Continue reading “Mastodon. In the Royal B.C. Museum Collection”

Taxonomy, location of origin and health status of proboscideans from Western Canada investigated using stable isotope analysis

ABSTRACT: We investigated the application of stable isotope analysis of proboscidean remains (collagen in bone/ dentin/cementum and structural carbonate in enamel bioapatite) for genus-level identification of isolated specimens, assessment of geographical origins, and testing for nutritional stress. Mammoths (Mammuthus sp.) tended to have higher d15Ncol and lower d13Ccol than mastodons (Mammut americanum), but differences were not significant in every location. Determining the genus of isolated specimens may be possible for locations and time periods with good isotopic baselines, but environmental changes can confound interpretations. For example, an Alberta proboscidean with a d15Ncol of +1.4%o (characteristic of mastodons) ultimately proved to be a mammoth. Its surprisingly low nitrogen isotope composition is attributable to the recently deglaciated environment it inhabited. We provided … Continue reading “Taxonomy, location of origin and health status of proboscideans from Western Canada investigated using stable isotope analysis”

Victoria Underwater

January 15, 2019 By Grant Keddie The Haultain Valley 14 meter Ocean Standstill. At the end of the ice age the land, in relation to the sea level, was undergoing enormous changes around Greater Victoria. Where the land surface was covered by ice or had ice sheets nearby, it was pushed down making local sea level high in relation to the land. This was occurring even when world-wide sea levels were much lower. As ice melted the local earth’s crust quickly rebounded and relative sea level fell at least 45 meters below where it is today. The sea then slowly came back up to near its present level around 4500 years ago – creating Victoria harbour, Esquimalt harbour and the … Continue reading “Victoria Underwater”

The Late lce Age of Southern Vancouver Island

Originally published in The Midden 11(4), 16-22. October 1979. By Grant Keddie A radio carbon date of 17,000 B,P. on a mammoth bone, the first date from the Saanichton Gravels north of Victoria, provides new evidence that alters the previously suggested timing of glacial events on southern Vancouver Island. The precise timing of these glacial events is of importance for archaeologists because the events define the times during which animal and human populations could have inhabited the Island. The purpose of this paper is to give a brief overview of what is known about the last stages of the Wisconsin glacial period on southern Vancouver Island; to show how the new radiocarbon date fits into the sequence of events; and … Continue reading “The Late lce Age of Southern Vancouver Island”