Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Articles

Title

Prehistoric reef-building coral occurrence in north Peru

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-9-2022

Publication Title

The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology

Keywords

Late Pleistocene, Huaca Prieta, Pocillopora coral, El Niño

ISSN

1556-4894

Abstract

Discovery of a late Pleistocene (∼13,300 cal BP) reef-building coral species (Pocillopora damicornis) at the prehistoric Huaca Prieta settlement in Peru raises the question of its origin. Did it arrive in northern Peru from tropical Ecuador via larval dispersal in south-flowing El Niño currents or over land by human trading? The Holocene distribution of Pocillopora in the eastern Pacific extends as far south as southern Ecuador and possibly northern Peru. The marine climate during the late Pleistocene was cooler and likely limited the occurrence of corals at today’s latitudinal range. This suggests that overland or onshore transport was the most likely means of a southerly introduction, thus supporting interpretative models of early human movement along the Pacific coast of South America.

Comments

The National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, and Vanderbilt University funded the research at Huaca Prieta, NSF grants BS98-2008 and BS-111-2010; NGS 291-09.

ORCID ID

0000-0002-6003-9324

ResearcherID

F-8807-2011

DOI

10.1080/15564894.2022.2072026

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