Publication Date

Spring 5-1-2018


This dissertation uses modern habitats and fauna to model the variability and predictive power of strontium isotope ratios in identifying dispersal patterns in primates and habitat preference in primate and non-primate fauna. It concludes that there are significant isotopic differences between gallery forest and xeric grassland habitats in the same area and that these differences are reflected in fauna with habitat preferences for one or the other. It also identifies the most reliable methodological approaches for identifying the philopatric and dispersing sex in primate communities. Finally, it applies this methodological recommendation to strontium isotope data from South African hominins, concluding that both Australopithecus africanus and Australopithecus robustus followed patterns of female dispersal and male philopatry while also suggesting a larger home range size for A. africanus.


Strontium isotope ratios, landscape use, riparian habitats, philopatry, dispersal, hominin evolution, australopithecines

Document Type




Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Department of Anthropology

First Committee Member (Chair)

Sherry Nelson

Second Committee Member

Martin Muller

Third Committee Member

Diego Fernandez

Fourth Committee Member

Seth Newsome