A reference collection of shinbones (Tibia) of different animal species helps determining old bones. Dutch Heritage Agency.
Zooarchaeology is primarily used to answer several questions. These include:
What was the diet like, and in what ways were the animals used for food?
Which were the animals that were eaten, in what amounts, and with what other foods?
Who were the ones to obtain the food, and did the availability of that food depend on age or gender?
How was culture, such as technologies and behavior, influenced by and associated with diet?
What purposes, other than food, were animals used for?
Zooarchaeology can also tell us what the environment might have been like in order for the different animals to have survived.
In addition to helping us understand the past, zooarchaeology can also help us to improve the present and the future. Studying how people dealt with animals, and its effects can help us avoid many potential ecological problems. This specifically includes problems involving wildlife management. For example, one of the questions that wildlife preservationists ask is whether they should keep animals facing extinction in several smaller areas, or in one larger area. Based on zooarchaeological evidence, they found that animals that are split up into several smaller areas are more likely to go extinct.