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Les isotopes des métaux de transition (Cu, Fe, Zn) au service de l'anthropologie

Abstract : First developed in geochemistry, isotopic analyses have progressively become a classical tool in anthropology since the seventies. They provide supplementary metabolic information to osteology, such as mobility or diet of past populations. However, isotopic studies only concern six elements among the thirty of the human body. Therefore, other elements could supply information on sex, age-at-death or fecundity, which still are crucial issues in anthropology.The aim of this thesis is to understand the origin of copper, iron and zinc isotopic variability in the human body, and to assess the contribution of these elements for anthropology. In order to do this, metals were purified from sample matrix by liquid chromatography on ion exchange resin and the isotope compositions were measured by multiple-collector inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICP-MS). δ56Fe and δ65Cu analyses performed on phalanx of skeletons coming from a french cementery (Saint-Laurent de Grenoble) revealed an isotopic sex difference which mirrors the one found in blood. Concerning its origin, calculations and data obtained on dental enamel support the hypothesis that the isotopic sex difference is due to a higher metal hepatic solicitation for women rather than differential intestinal absorption between men and women. Blood isotopic data from French and Yakut population also highlighted three other significant factors of variability: menopause, age, and cold stress. Our results argue for the development of Fe, Cu, and Zn stable isotope analyses in human remains as a potential vehicle for information on age-at-death, age at menopause, sex and metabolic adaptation to cold stress of past populations.
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Klervia Jaouen. Les isotopes des métaux de transition (Cu, Fe, Zn) au service de l'anthropologie. Sciences agricoles. Ecole normale supérieure de lyon - ENS LYON, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012ENSL0751⟩. ⟨tel-00781645⟩

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