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Spruce trees for lunch????

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:36 pm
by Farpoint
I have a question for the board.

Mastodons purportedly ate Picea. Is there any other animal that is known to eat spruce trees, past or present?

Re: Spruce trees for lunch????

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:07 pm
by Ernie L
I know that squirrels eat the cones...and then there was Euell Gibbons.....and Canadians (spruce beer.) :D

Re: Spruce trees for lunch????

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:12 am
by Farpoint
Ernie L wrote:I know that squirrels eat the cones...and then there was Euell Gibbons.....and Canadians (spruce beer.) :D
I have physically observed this while walking doggy in the park; she intently observed as well, heh heh. They leave a core of whitish fibers having stripped the meaty part away. The fruit I understand, the branches and needles, I do not. Some authors have suggested that the mastodons ate them in desperation to put something in their stomach during late spring when they were at pond edges; eg D C Fisher. They determine season of death via tusk morphology. No author suggests that only picea was being consumed, but preservation bias against the less woody plants makes it difficult to assess the totality of their diet; (C. L. Teale, 2012).

Re: Spruce trees for lunch????

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:33 am
by E.P. Grondine
I don't know about modern animals, but what is more interesting is picea eating by ground sloth and giant peccary.

Other than that, it wasn't a gradual climate change that wiped out the mega-fauna, it was a "nuclear winter" atmospheric dust loading caused by cometary impact, most likely from the progenitor of Comet 21P. Nothing grew, and it was fiercely cold.

The smoking guns are the impact craters from this impact event, along with the global distribution of impactites, the dust load.

Using Occam's razor, it is not necessary then to look for human overhunting either.
As a matter of fact, mapping extinctions versus human population loads pretty much shows that this hypothesis does not work.

Re: Spruce trees for lunch????

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:43 pm
by Farpoint
E.P. Grondine wrote:I don't know about modern animals, but what is more interesting is picea eating by ground sloth and giant peccary.
I am curious, do you have a source describing sloth dung balls containing more than minor amounts of Picea? I have done a search and I have come up empty.

Re: Spruce trees for lunch????

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:58 am
by Farpoint
EP,

Somewhere, you suggested that there was a peak in Mastodon radio carbon ages at 10,750, do you have a source for that?

Thank You

Re: Spruce trees for lunch????

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:46 am
by E.P. Grondine
Hi Farpoint -

A simple internet search led to the picea found in ground sloth and pecciary dung.
How much it contributed to their diet (caloric content versus digestive remains) is another question. I currently have a very full desk, so I'll have to leave that one up to you.

As to the 10,750 BCE dates, they're approximate and from Firestone et al's first publications.
Differences in dating for this event now amount to several hundred years, which is an order of magnitude better precision in dating than existed when I wrote "Man and Impact in the Americas".

In the future, ice core and mussel shell dates may add more precision.

Perhaps someday tree ring series from the northern mucks may provide nearly absolute dates,
down to say 15 years or so.

Re: Spruce trees for lunch????

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:48 pm
by circumspice
Spruce, particularly white spruce, is a nutritious plant. It is high in vitamin c & other nutrients. It is traditionally used by native Americans
for prevention and/or treatment of scurvy that results from winter starvation. I think that the bark is made into a decoction. Whatever.

See below:

http://www.ethnobiomed.com/content/5/1/5

Re: Spruce trees for lunch????

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:05 pm
by Farpoint
circumspice wrote:Spruce, particularly white spruce, is a nutritious plant. It is high in vitamin c & other nutrients. It is traditionally used by native Americans
for prevention and/or treatment of scurvy that results from winter starvation. I think that the bark is made into a decoction. Whatever.

See below:

http://www.ethnobiomed.com/content/5/1/5
I would have never found that, thank you. The history is interesting too. Ground sloths did eat juniper, which is the last plant on the list of possible "tree of life". Of course to make a "decoction" one must have a vessel of some kind and I do not know if an animal stomach would work or not? It is also unlikely that we could ever determine how far back it was that the first "medicine man/woman" came up with that.

Re: Spruce trees for lunch????

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:06 pm
by circumspice
Farpoint wrote:
circumspice wrote:Spruce, particularly white spruce, is a nutritious plant. It is high in vitamin c & other nutrients. It is traditionally used by native Americans
for prevention and/or treatment of scurvy that results from winter starvation. I think that the bark is made into a decoction. Whatever.

See below:

http://www.ethnobiomed.com/content/5/1/5
I would have never found that, thank you. The history is interesting too. Ground sloths did eat juniper, which is the last plant on the list of possible "tree of life". Of course to make a "decoction" one must have a vessel of some kind and I do not know if an animal stomach would work or not? It is also unlikely that we could ever determine how far back it was that the first "medicine man/woman" came up with that.
You're welcome. I just lucked out finding that extract. I had read earlier today, on a Canadian Tribal website, about that expedition. The website sells seeds & herbal products, but they don't sell to
Americans because of import restrictions. So, I lost interest in the website. Then I couldn't find it again... :? Oh well. I think the extract is more authoritative anyway.

By the way, boiling water in leather isn't all that difficult, or for that matter, in a clay lined pit or a hollowed out log either. But Native Americans weren't always 'pre-pottery'. They had ceramics for
a LONG time prior to the arrival of Europeans.

Re: Spruce trees for lunch????

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:25 am
by Minimalist
There was a story not too long ago about Austraopithicus Sediba eating tree bark. It's too late for me to go looking for it right now but talk about a high-fiber diet.

Re: Spruce trees for lunch????

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:43 am
by Farpoint
Minimalist wrote:There was a story not too long ago about Austraopithicus Sediba eating tree bark. It's too late for me to go looking for it right now but talk about a high-fiber diet.
Tree bark is also used,as well as animal brains, for tanning hides.
Tan me hide when I die, Clyde
Tan me hide when I die
“So they tanned his hide when he died, Clyde
And that’s it hangin' on the shed!”
R. Harris

Re: Spruce trees for lunch????

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:33 am
by Minimalist
I had that record when I was a kid.

Re: Spruce trees for lunch????

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:05 am
by dannan14
And was one of my favorite songs on Dr. Demento

Re: Spruce trees for lunch????

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:26 pm
by Minimalist
What would life be without Youtube?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_D-LmRNdQiQ