New frontiers in calcium stable isotope geochemistry: Perspectives in present and past vertebrate biology

Théo Tacail, Sandrine Le Houedec, Joseph L. Skulan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

Beyond their established uses in Earth and Planetary sciences, calcium (Ca) isotopes have a promising future in the study of the biology of present and past vertebrates, including humans. Early work paved the way to the ongoing research on the potential of Ca isotopes as relevant tools to disciplines other than geology, including palaeobiology, bioarchaeology and biomedical research. In this article, we first review the rationale behind the cycling of Ca isotopes in vertebrate organisms. We then summarize and discuss the use of Ca isotopes as dietary tracers from trophic reconstructions in past vertebrate ecosystems to the tracking of early life dietary transitions. Next, we review and examine the research outcomes on the potential of Ca isotopes as biomarkers of bone loss in physiological and pathological conditions such as bone cancers and osteoporosis. While emphasizing the needs of future research in each of these applications, we suggest new potential uses of Ca isotopes in vertebrate biology. Finally, we identify challenges and barriers faced when developing such interdisciplinary projects and suggest how these can be overcome.
Original languageEnglish
Article number119471
Number of pages13
JournalChemical Geology
Volume537
Early online date15 Jan 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2020

Keywords

  • Calcium isotopes
  • Vertebrate biology
  • Palaeobiology
  • Bioarchaeology
  • Biomedical research
  • Bone loss

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