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Science and Conservation of Sea Otters

Podcast: Sea Otters & Zooarchaeology

The Emerging Role of Zooarchaeology

Check out the recent Northwest Nature Matters podcast with Professor Madonna Moss about her fascinating research into the pre-historic use of sea otters by indigenous tribes in the Pacific Northwest. Professor Moss is the Curator of Zooarchaeology, at the University of Oregon’s Museum of Natural and Cultural History, and studies the long term history of Native Americans and First Nations of the Northwest Coast of North America, with a special focus on Tlingit and Haida and their ancestors.

Also known as faunal analysis, zooarchaeology involves studying remains of animals from archaeological sites including remains like bones, shells, hair, fish scales, hides, and DNA. Professor Moss explained how faunal evidence can support a wide range of natural resource and cultural resource questions. Moss describes how her research into the past use of sea otters by PNW tribes helped confirm their own oral histories, and defend their tribe’s cultural practices against outside opposition. Listen….