Strontium isotope analysis of bone and tooth enamel from prehistoric human skeletons is an important new technique used to address questions regarding migration. Two problems arise in such investigations: (1) levels of strontium isotope ratios in local bedrock, soil, water, plants and animals are variable
and (2) a range of values in human bone and enamel data make it difficult to distinguish some migrants from locals. Analysis of the bones of small animals provides a robust measure of local strontium isotope ratios and a reliable, if conservative, means for determining confidence limits for distinguishing migrants. Data from various geographical areas are presented here in a discussion of variability in strontium isotope values. Examples are provided using modern and prehistoric materials. We conclude with the recommendation that studies involving strontium isotope analysis should incorporate small animal samples for comparative purposes whenever possible.