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Research article2012Peer reviewed

Estimating meagre (Argyrosomus regius) size from otoliths and vertebrae

Gabriel, Sonia; Prista, Nuno; Costa, Maria Jose


This study presents a method for predicting meagre (Argyrosomus regius) body size (total length) from otoliths and vertebrae recovered from archaeological sites. The method involves regression equations calculated from a reference collection of 36 meagre skeletons and 113 meagre otoliths (sagitta) and allows the simultaneous estimation of original body size and minimum number of individuals (MNI) from archaeological bone structures. We selected the following measurements to predict meagre body size: greatest dorso-ventral height, greatest mediolateral breadth, and greatest anteroposterior length of the vertebrae centra; maximum anteroposterior length, medial anteroposterior length, and dorso-ventral height of the sagitta. Our results show that the original body size of meagre can be accurately predicted from many bone measurements (r(2) range: 0.921-0.992). We exemplify the use of the regressions in the assessment of size variation and MNI of meagre from four Portuguese Mesolithic sites. We show that regression results provide additional insight into the significant role that this fish played in the subsistence of coastal fisher-hunter-gatherers, who targeted medium-sized animals but were also capable of acquiring rather larger specimens. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Meagre; Size estimates; Regression analysis; Otoliths and vertebrae; Argyrosomus regius; Portugal; Mesolithic; Aquatic resources

Published in

Journal of Archaeological Science
2012, Volume: 39, number: 9, pages: 2859-2865

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Fish and Aquacultural Science

    Publication identifier


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