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Origins of Procellariidae Hunting in the Southwest Pacific
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Origins of Procellariidae Hunting in the Southwest Pacific

Author: ATHOLL ANDERSON Affiliation: Division of Archaeology and Natural History, ANU, Canberra
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication:International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, v6 n4 (September 1996): 403-410
Summary:
Small procellariids, mainly petrels, prions and shearwaters, were hunted at their rookeries in various parts of the southwest Pacific during the early historical era. The industries, some of which continue, arose from both traditional, indigenous, practices of prehistoric origin and subsistence necessity in early European settlements. The history and main features of the Tasmanian and southern New Zealand  Read more...
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Details

Document Type: Article
All Authors / Contributors: ATHOLL ANDERSON Affiliation: Division of Archaeology and Natural History, ANU, Canberra
ISSN:1047-482X
Language Note: English
Unique Identifier: 5156584019
Notes: Number of Figures: 1
Number of References: 20
Awards:

Abstract:

Small procellariids, mainly petrels, prions and shearwaters, were hunted at their rookeries in various parts of the southwest Pacific during the early historical era. The industries, some of which continue, arose from both traditional, indigenous, practices of prehistoric origin and subsistence necessity in early European settlements. The history and main features of the Tasmanian and southern New Zealand ‘muttonbird’ industries are described, together with brief summaries of those on Chatham, Raoul and Norfolk islands.
Procellariid hunting occurred in two different situations, on isolated tropical islands, where its impact was often devastating, and on temperate islands associated with the East Australian Current, a western boundary current like the Gulf Stream. In the latter case, procellariid populations were very large and resilient to predation.
In Tasmania, muttonbirds were taken for immediate consumption, but in New Zealand and other Polynesian islands there was preservation for storage. However, a common feature seems to have been the late development of systematic procellariid hunting, possibly because of the relative costs of access to the resource, although other explanations cannot be ruled out.

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Procellariid hunting occurred in two different situations, on isolated tropical islands, where its impact was often devastating, and on temperate islands associated with the East Australian Current, a western boundary current like the Gulf Stream. In the latter case, procellariid populations were very large and resilient to predation.
In Tasmania, muttonbirds were taken for immediate consumption, but in New Zealand and other Polynesian islands there was preservation for storage. However, a common feature seems to have been the late development of systematic procellariid hunting, possibly because of the relative costs of access to the resource, although other explanations cannot be ruled out.
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